“The bomber was on foot. Four people have been killed and seven others were wounded,” police official Imtiaz Shah told AFP. – AFP File Photo

PESHAWAR: A suicide bomber killed a militant commander in Peshawar who had escaped two previous assassination attempts and three other people on Monday, police said.

The attack damaged a house that commander Haji Akhunzada was building in Pakha Ghulam on the outskirts of Peshawar.

He was considered a significant force within Ansarul Islam, a homegrown group based in the lawless tribal district of Khyber, and had moved to Peshawar after escaping two other failed attacks in the past.

“It was a suicide attack, four people have been killed. Haji Akhunzada is among the dead,” Imtiaz Shah, a senior police officer, told AFP.

A bomb disposal official said it was a suicide attack.

“Evidence collected from site shows that a suicide bomber was involved,” Hukam Khan told AFP.

Pakistani officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, blamed rival militant group, Lashkar-i-Islam for Monday's killings. Lashkar-i-Islam is another homegrown militant group in Khyber led by warlord Mangal Bagh.

Siraj Ahmad, the top government official in Peshawar, told AFP that Akhunzada and his son-in-law were among the dead.

The bomber was dropped off by a motorcyclist, then walked to the house under construction and detonated his vest, Ahmad added.

Ansarul Islam and Lashkar-i-Islam have a history of killing each other's fighters, police said.

Despite a relative lull in recent months, militants have killed more than 4,800 across Pakistan since government troops raided an extremist mosque in Islamabad in July 2007.

Updated Jan 30, 2012 11:35am

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