Pakistan blast kills US Marines
Three US Marines are among at least 10 people killed in an attack on a convoy heading to a girls' school in north-west Pakistan, police have said.At least 70 people, including 63 school girls, were injured as the convoy was hit as it passed another girls' school in Lower Dir, near the Afghan border.
The attack comes amid a major government offensive against Taliban militants in the area.
The Taliban has frequently targeted markets, schools and security agencies.
Pakistan military sources told the BBC that three US Marines were killed and one other injured. The US embassy has declined to comment.
They were thought to be travelling with a convoy that was heading to the inauguration ceremony of a newly-built girls' school.
The blast occurred near a different school in Koto, a heavily populated village along the route, the BBC's Mark Dummett in Islamabad says.
At least three of the dead were school girls, police said, adding that security guards and three local journalists were also among the wounded.
RECENT ATTACKS ON FOREIGNERS
October 2009: Suicide bomber attacks UN offices in Islamabad, killing five people including a foreigner
September 2009: Truck bomber kills at least 54 people including foreigners at the Marriott Hotel in Islamabad
June 2009: Foreigners among at least 18 people killed in suicide attack blamed on the Taliban on Pearl Continental hotel
March 2009: Bus carrying Sri Lankan cricket team is attacked in Lahore, injuring seven players and killing five Pakistani policemen
March 2008: A Turkish woman is killed and several foreigners are injured in a bomb attack on an Italian restaurant in Islamabad
Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani has condemned the attack and ordered an investigation, the AFP news agency reports.
The Taliban has frequently targeted girls' schools in recent years, burning several to the ground.
The school that was due to re-open had only recently been re-built with foreign aid after being blown up by militants in January 2009, AFP said citing a local police official.
Last year, the Pakistani army carried out a major offensive to drive Taliban insurgents out of Lower Dir and the neighbouring districts of Swat and Buner, but they are still present in remote areas, our correspondent says.
The latest attack shows that the Taliban remains a powerful force in the region, despite the government's efforts to push them back, he adds.
Hundreds of people have died and several thousand displaced by the fighting.
Many of the girls' school in the region that were destroyed by militants are now being rebuilt.