Islamabad: A Pakistani boy who took part in a suicide mission that killed more than 40 people at a Sufi shrine sought forgiveness on Friday in a television interview from his hospital bed.
The boy, who police said is 14, was arrested after his belt of explosives failed to go off in Sunday`s attack. He said he had been trained by militants close to the Afghan border, and that his handlers spoke of "more than 350 other boys going through the training”.
In the attack on the Sufi shrine, at least two bombers successfully detonated explosives, killing at least 44 people. The boy whose explosives didn`t go off was arrested shortly after the incident.
Police initially said he was unrepentant, and that he told them he wanted to "send them to hell”.
However, in Friday`s interview, he said he is "seeking forgiveness" from the families of those killed and wounded.
"I never knew that I was going to hurt Muslims. I learned it only after I failed," said the boy. "May Allah forgive me."
The boy`s left arm was amputated as a result of injuries he sustained after he was shot by a guard. In Friday`s interview, the boy spoke softly while lying in bed. The stump of what was left of his arm was bandaged.
The boy gave his name as Omar, though police initially identified him as Fida Hussain.
He said he spent two months training with four other boys in the town of Mir Ali in North Waziristan, a region that is under militant control. The Pakistan Army has yet to launch an offensive there despite American pressure, saying it does not have the resources.
Since 2007, al Qaeda and Taliban militants have carried out hundreds of suicide attacks at government installations, security forces and Western targets in Pakistan. Several Sufi shrines have been bombed because the extremists do not agree with the way Muslims who visit them practice the faith.