Aab Bareek (Afghanistan), 3 May-2014, AFP: Afghan officials said today that a maximum of about 500…
A suicide bomber detonated himself in a packed mosque in a northwestern Pakistan, killing at least 16 people and wounding more than 20 during Friday prayers. A second regional official confirmed the bombing in the village of Payee Khan, in the troubled Mohmand region of the lawless Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) bordering Afghanistan.
“The suicide bomber was in crowded mosque, he shouted ‘Allahu Akbar’ (God is greatest) and then there was a huge blast,” Naveed Akbar, deputy administrator of Mohmand agency, told Reuters.
Shaukat Khan, another official in the northwestern FATA region, said at least 24 people were wounded. “Many people were gathered inside the mosque where a suicide bomber blew himself up,” he said.
Pakistan’s frontier regions, which are deeply conservative and hard to access due to rough terrain, have long been the sanctuary of fighters from al Qaeda, the Taliban and other Islamist groups.
Photo: File picture
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has expressed his grief over the loss of lives in the blast. “The cowardly attacks by terrorists cannot shatter the government’s resolve to eliminate terrorism from the country,” he said in a statement.
The death toll in the blast has now risen to 25, with at least 30 reported to be injured. “A portion of the mosque and veranda collapsed in the blast and fell on worshippers. We are still retrieving bodies and the injured from rubble of the mosque building,” Naveed Akbar, deputy administrator of Mohmand Agency, told Reuters.
Rescue operations are currently underway. The bodies and injured people are being shifted to local hospitals for medical treatment. The Injured are also being transported to hospitals in Bajaur Agency, Charsadda and Peshawar for treatment.
The suicide attacker blew himself up in the verandah of the mosque, according to media reports.