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65 killed, 110 injured in suicide attacks in Pak`s tribal belt

A suicide bomber killed up to 65 people and wounded 110 in Pak`s Mohmand province.



Peshawar: At least 65 people were killed
and 110 injured when two Taliban suicide bombers struck a
government office at a busy market place in Pakistan`s restive
tribal belt, the latest in a wave of terror bloodbath that has
shaken the country.

The attackers detonated their explosives outside the
office of the assistant political agent at Yakaghund village
in Mohmand Agency, 40 km north of Peshawar.
Hundreds of people, including members of an
anti-Taliban militia, were present outside the office and in
the nearby market, witnesses said.

Political Agent Amjad Ali Khan, the region`s top
government official, told agency that 65 people were killed and
112 others injured in the attack. The first bomber was on a
motorcycle while the second was driving an explosives-laden
vehicle, Khan said.

The Mohmand chapter of the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan
claimed responsibility for the attack, one of the worst
terrorist assaults in the tribal belt.

Taliban spokesman Ikramullah Mohmand told reporters
that the bombers had targeted the political administration and
the "peace committee" or anti-Taliban militia from Ambar area
because they had organised a jirga against the militants.

Over 60 injured people were being treated at the
state-run Lady Reading Hospital in Peshawar and eight of them
were in a serious condition, said Abdul Hamid Afridi, the
chief executive of the hospital.

Four persons also succumbed to their injuries, he
said. Women, children and personnel of the Khasadar militia
were among the dead and injured.

Assistant Political Agent Rasool Khan, who office was
targeted, escaped unhurt. One of the explosions was not very
powerful while the other caused most of the damage, witnesses
said.

A prison, some other government offices and over 70
shops were damaged by the blasts. Police said nearly 30
criminals held in the prison escaped during the chaos in the
wake of the attack.
Several buildings, including three restaurants,
collapsed and footage on television showed people digging
through the rubble with their hands.

Security forces cordoned off the area as rescue
workers cleared the rubble and removed the bodies and the
injured. Ambulances and heavy machinery were sent to Yakaghund
from Peshawar to help the rescue operations.

Ishaq Khan, a security guard at the office that was
targeted, said one suicide bomber had come to the market on a
motorcycle. The attacker did not stop when security personnel
asked him to.

"Then he suddenly fell and there was a powerful
blast," Khan said.

Officials said members of a local "peace committee"
or anti-Taliban militia, who had come to Yakaghund to meet the
assistant political agency, were the main target of the
attack.

Humanitarian goods provided by the US Agency for
International Development were also distributed among people
shortly before the blasts.

The Pakistan Army has been conducting operations
against the local Taliban in Mohmand Agency. Officials say
militants fleeing an army operation in Bajaur Agency have
taken shelter in Mohmand Agency.

Last month, a large number of militants attacked a
security check post in Mohmand Agency and kidnapped dozens of
paramilitary troops.

The spokesman for the Pakistani Taliban, Mohammad
Omar, was arrested in Mohmand Agency last year.

PTI

From Zee News

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