30 killed in suicide attack on Pak mosque
Last Updated: Thursday, February 18, 2010, 19:08
  
Peshawar/Islamabad: A suicide bomber struck a mosque on Thursday in northwest Pakistan's restive Khyber tribal region killing 30 people, including some militants, and injuring scores.

The mosque targeted by the bomber was located in a compound in Akakhel area that served as the headquarters of the banned Lashkar-e-Islam militant group.

No one claimed responsibility for the attack though local residents said it could be the fallout of the rivalry between the Lashkar-e-Islam and Ansar-ul-Islam, another banned militant group.

Local officials and witnesses said 30 people were killed in the attack.

Sources close to Lashkar-e-Islam said militant commander Azam Khan Akakhel and six of his bodyguards were among the dead.

Khalid Khan Umerzai, the Commissioner of Kohat division, told media that a large number of people had gathered at the mosque for prayers at the time of the blast.

He said initial reports had indicated that about 100 people were injured.

Earlier reports had suggested that two separate explosions had occurred ? one in the mosque in Khyber and another at a cattle market in Aurakzai tribal agency.

Officials clarified the two sites border one another and the market is apparently located near the mosque.

The confusion was compounded by lack of access to the remote area, they said.

Reports also said the suicide attacker struck while a 'shura' or council meeting of the Lashkar-e-Islam was underway at the compound.

They said the Ansar-ul-Islam could have carried out the attack in retaliation for a strike on one of its madrassas last year.

Attacks by the two banned militant groups on each other's members in the past few years have killed dozens.

The injured in today's bombing were taken to hospitals in Hangu, Kohat and Peshawar.

Earlier, 19 people, most of them paramilitary troopers, were killed in another suicide attack in Khyber Agency on February 10.

PTI


First Published: Thursday, February 18, 2010, 19:08


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