Militant attacks have been on the rise in Pakistan since the military began a major offensive targeting the Taliban in South Waziristan.
On Thursday a U.N. peacekeeper was shot to death in his army vehicle by two assailants on a motorcycle, while the man was on home leave in Pakistan.
U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon released a statement extending his “heartfelt condolences” to the family of Brigadier General Ahmed Moinuddin,
Moinuddin had been a member of the U.N. peacekeeping force in Sudan for the past five months.
No group has claimed responsibility for the assault, but the chief of the Islamabad police blamed Taliban extremists. He said authorities are pursuing the attackers.
Also Thursday, police in Islamabad arrested a man wearing a jacket containing explosives on a passenger bus. A bomb squad removed the jacket without injury. Authorities are investigating whether the man was planning a suicide attack or delivering the jacket to someone else.
Taliban militants have launched a wave of attacks in recent weeks, hitting police centers, the army’s headquarters, a United Nations office and an Islamic university. Schools across the country have been ordered closed until Sunday because of security fears.
Pakistani government forces launched their offensive in the Taliban stronghold of South Waziristan five days ago. Forces are targeting an area considered to be the base of Pakistani Taliban leader Hakimullah Mehsud.
The army reports at least 129 militants and 18 soldiers have been killed since the ground operation was launched Saturday.
There is no independent confirmation of the tolls, as the region is closed to outsiders and no journalists are traveling with Pakistani troops.
Pakistani army commanders say 30,000 troops are battling about 10,000 militants in South Waziristan. They expect the offensive to last six to eight weeks, before winter weather makes fighting difficult.