updated 3/13/2010 2:43:19 AM ET 2010-03-13T07:43:19

A suicide attacker set off a bomb at a security checkpoint in northwest Pakistan on Saturday, killing at least 10 people and injuring 52, officials and a doctor said, underscoring the relentless security threat to this Islamic nation.

The attacker, who was driving a three-wheeled motorized rickshaw, detonated the explosives at a roadblock manned by soldiers and police in the town of Saidu Sharif in the Swat Valley, police official Qazi Farooq said.

Swat was the scene of months of violence last year between Islamist militants and Pakistan's security forces.

Lal Noor, a doctor at a local hospital, said 10 people died in the attack — one soldier, one policeman and eight civilians — and another 52 were wounded.

Sporadic violence
The Pakistani military launched a major offensive in Swat early last year after the collapse of peace talks with local Taliban officials, who at the time controlled much of the valley.

The military took back the Swat Valley by mid-2009, but sporadic violence has continued.

No one claimed responsibility for Saturday's attack, but suspicion quickly fell on the Islamist militants, who have stepped up attacks against security forces in recent days.

The Swat attack came the day after two suicide bombers killed 43 people in near-simultaneous blasts in Lahore .

Friday's bombings also wounded about 100 people, raising fears of a new wave of attacks by Islamic militants.

The Lahore attack saw two suicide bombers, who were on foot, set off their explosives within seconds of each other near two trucks carrying soldiers on patrol in RA Bazaar, a residential and commercial neighborhood with numerous military buildings. About 10 of those killed were soldiers, said Police Chief Parvaiz Rathore.

No group immediately claimed responsibility, but officials suspected the Pakistani Taliban and al-Qaida, which have been fighting to destabilize the U.S.-allied Islamabad government.

They launched a bloody wave of bombings last fall across Pakistan, leaving 600 people dead in near-daily attacks done in apparent retaliation for an army offensive against the insurgents' main stronghold, in the tribal region of South Waziristan along the Afghan border.

The government offensive was seen as fairly effective, forcing many Taliban leaders to flee and reducing the area where the insurgents could operate openly.

The insurgent attacks slowed early this year. In recent months, they have been smaller, farther apart and largely confined to remote regions near Afghanistan. Attacks, including in major cities, have picked up again over the past week.

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