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A suicide bomber killed 11 people at a court in north-western Pakistan on Friday, officials said, hours after gunmen stormed a Christian neighbourhood in the same region.

The bomber threw a hand grenade at police guards before storming into the compound of the district court in Mardan town in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province, local police chief Faisal Shahzad said.

Nearly 40 people were taken to hospitals, rescue official Haris Habib said, where 11 of them died of their injuries.

At least two police officers and four lawyers were among the dead in the second attack apparently targeting Pakistani legal fraternity in less than a month. The two locations are about 60 kilometres apart.

On August 8, a suicide bomber killed 77 people, mostly lawyers, in an attack in the south-western city of Quetta claimed by both the Islamic State group and Pakistani Taliban.

In a separate attack, gunmen wearing suicide vests stormed a Christian neighbourhood in the north-western city of Peshawar but a prompt response by security forces prevented casualties.

A member of the Christian community and a security man were killed when four terrorists sneaked into Christian Colony in Warsak area on the outskirt of the city, triggering a gun battle with military commandos, army said.

The militants were cornered by security forces and all of them blew themselves up there, an army statement said.  

At least five people including two security officials were wounded in the gun battle that lasted for a couple of hours, police officer Gul Wahab told dpa.

Extremist Taliban routinely attack members of the minority communities in Pakistan.

Around 70 people were killed when a Taliban bomber attacked Christians celebrating Eastern in the eastern city of Lahore in March this year.

Two Taliban suicide bombers attacked a church in Peshawar in 2013, killing nearly 100 people in what was Pakistan’s deadliest attack on religious minorities to date.

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