Jamrud: At least 30 people, including an important Lashkar-e-Islam commander (LI), were killed and another 110 injured in a suicide attack near a mosque in Akakhel area of Khyber Agency’s remote Tirah valley on Thursday.
Sources in Tirah valley confirmed the identity of the dead Lashkar commander as Azam Khan.
Witnesses told Daily Times that a suicide bomber, after parking his explosives-laden double cabin pickup in the middle of a ground, blew himself up while meeting the Lashkar’s deputy chief for the area, also setting of the explosives in his vehicle.
But a source said the bomber only detonated explosives strapped to his body as LI members and locals prepared for mid-day prayers at Darss Mosque, which is controlled by the LI.
The agency also quoted local official Javed Khan as saying that the dead also included other LI militants.
The attack was carried out with around 80 people gathered around “the mosque, a cattle market and bazaar”, an official said.
Officials were still investigating what caused the explosion.
Kohat Commissioner Khalid Umarzai told reporters over the phone that the injured had been shifted to Kohat hospitals for treatment. He said “most of those injured” were in critical condition.
An intelligence official said, “We have confirmed reports that militant commander Azam Khan was also killed in the blast.”
The LI has not held anybody responsible for the attack.
The Akakhel area is located on the border of Khyber and Orakzai agencies. While Orakzai is controlled by the TTP, the LI is the dominant force in Khyber.
President Asif Ali Zardari and Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani have condemned the attack.