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Pakistan: 100 die in Taliban suicide bombings

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  • NEW: Police say suicide bombers kill at least 100 at military arms factory
  • Spokesman for Pakistan's Taliban said it is behind Thursday's attacks
  • White House: Bush calls Pakistani PM to express sympathies for recent attacks
  • Suicide attack in Pakistan Tuesday killed 29 at a hospital emergency entrance
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ISLAMABAD, Pakistan (CNN) -- The Taliban claimed responsibility for dual suicide bombings at a Pakistani military arms factory on Thursday that police say killed 100 people and wounded 80 others.

Police and authorities investigate the scene of the arms factory blast in Wah, near Rawalpindi.

Police and authorities investigate the scene of the arms factory blast in Wah, near Rawalpindi.

The spokesman for Pakistan's Taliban, Maulvi Omar, said his group, Tehrik-e-Taliban, was responsible for Thursday's attacks.

Two suicide bombers blew themselves up near the gates of the military arms factory in Wah, near Rawalpindi, where Pakistan's military is based. The attack took place during a shift change at one of several factories that employ several thousand people.

It was the second deadly suicide attack in the country since President Pervez Musharraf resigned Monday.

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon condemned the attack, his spokesman said in a statement. Ban "reiterates his rejection of such indiscriminate and reprehensible acts of terrorism and extends his condolences to the families of the victims and to the government of Pakistan." Video Watch a report on the deadly attack »

U.S. President Bush called Pakistani Prime Minister Syed Yousaf Raza Gillani to express his sympathies for the recent attacks, White House spokesman Gordon Johndroe said.

"Bush expressed to Prime Minister Gillani the United States' strong commitment to working with the prime minister and the government of Pakistan to address the ongoing battle against extremists and to assist Pakistan through its current economic situation," Johndroe said in an e-mail.

The U.S. president also told Gillani that he had spoken to Musharraf on Thursday to thank him for "his efforts in the democratic transition of Pakistan, as well as the fight against al Qaeda and extremist groups," Johndroe said.

Omar promised more attacks as long as Pakistan continued its military operations in Bajaur Agency, a tribal region where the military has launched a major offensive against militants.

On Tuesday, a suicide bomber detonated explosives near the emergency entrance to a hospital in the Dera Ismail Khan district, killing 29 and wounding another 35. The Taliban also claimed responsibility for that attack.

Pakistani security forces have been battling Islamic militants in the country's tribal regions that border Afghanistan. Clashes have killed dozens since late June. And militants have vowed to retaliate.

Muhammad Amir Rana, director of an Islamabad-based think-tank, said he expected the militants to increase their attacks as a show of force against the new government now that Musharraf is out of power.

The act of picking Musharraf's successor has taken a back seat as the two political parties that lead the ruling coalition wrangle over restoring the 60 judges Musharraf fired.

Pakistani newspapers and bloggers have urged the Pakistan People's Party and the Pakistan Muslim League-N to reconcile their differences and tackle the country's more pressing concerns: the economy and terrorism.

The PML-N, the junior partner in the coalition, indicated Thursday that it may pull out unless judges fired by Musharraf were quickly reinstated, claiming that the PPP was reneging on assurances.

The PPP wants the coalition to focus on picking a successor for Musharraf, but if the PML-N pulls out, the coalition will probably crumble unless the PPP can line up enough smaller parties to retain a majority.

"The two parties signed an agreement that said the judges will be restored within 24 hours of Musharraf's impeachment," PML-N Information Secretary Ahsan Iqbal said Thursday. "We honestly and sincerely want the coalition to work. But the restoration of the judges was the central issue in our election campaign. And if that is not respected, then people will ask why are we clinging on to the coalition."


The Pakistan People's Party said it hoped the PML-N stayed in the coalition.

"We will definitely try our outmost to ensure that they will not pull out because we have promised to work together to serve the country," said Farzana Raja, central coordinator for the PPP. "If they want to do something in haste, they have all the right to do that. We cannot force them to be with us. But we are trying to reach a consensus."

CNN's Reza Sayah and Saeed Ahmed and journalist Kamran Yousaf contributed to this report.

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