PESHAWAR, Pakistan (AP) -- A suicide bomber riding a motorcycle attacked a police checkpoint in northwestern Pakistan on Wednesday, striking amid a crowd gathered along the road to greet a prominent hardline Islamist politician and killing 13 people, police said.
It was unclear if the bomber specifically targeted the supporters of politician Maulana Fazlur Rehman or if they just happened to be there when he hit the checkpoint. Rehman has been an outspoken supporter of the Afghan Taliban, but some militants in Pakistan have shown a willingness to attack anyone connected to the government.
The bomber detonated his explosives just outside the checkpoint when a policeman told him to halt, said Saeed Khan, a police official at the main communications center in Peshawar city. The blast killed the policeman and 12 other civilians nearby, said Khan. Another 12 people were wounded.
The attack occurred in Swabi town, located some 44 miles (70 kilometers) outside the capital Islamabad. Rehman, the leader of the Jamiat Ulema Islam party, passed through the checkpoint only minutes before the bomber struck and was unharmed, said Khan. Rehman was traveling to Charsadda town to address a public gathering.