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Petraeus arrives in Pakistan as suicide bomber kills 8

Gen. David Petraeus, newly tasked with responsibility for America's two wars, landed in Pakistan on Sunday, hours after a suicide car bomb killed eight troops and underlined the Muslim nation's critical role in the war on terror.

Petraeus, who took over as head of U.S. Central Command on Friday after 20 months as the top U.S. commander in Baghdad, was accompanied by U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Richard Boucher, the U.S. Embassy confirmed (USA TODAY).

The attacker rammed his vehicle at a checkpoint near the main gate of the Zalai Fort as Frontier Corps paramilitary troops gathered nearby, said Maj. Gen. Athar Abbas, the Pakistan army's top spokesman. Eight people died and four were wounded, he said (Yahoo! News).

The Pakistani troops were washing their vehicles Sunday when the suicide attacker came, two intelligence officials said. They described the explosion as "large" and said it destroyed the checkpoint and damaged the front wall of the fort (USA TODAY).

The intelligence officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to media. It was not possible to immediately verify the details. South Waziristan is a dangerous, remote area where travel by foreigners and many journalists is restricted (Yahoo! News).

Washington is suspected in at least 17 missile strikes in northwestern Pakistan since August, a potential indication that the U.S. is not satisfied with Pakistan's efforts.

Pakistan routinely protests the missile attacks as violations of its sovereignty, but the strikes have continued nonetheless.