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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