Pak blast: 38 dead, 50 injured in terror attack on mosque, jirga meet



Pak blast: 38 dead, 50 injured in terror attack on mosque, jirga meet Peshawar: At least 38 people, including a former parliamentarian, were killed and nearly 50 others injured in a suicide attack on a mosque and two bombings across northwest Pakistan on Monday, marking a spurt in militant violence after a relative lull over the past few weeks.

Former lawmaker Maulana Noor Muhammad was among 26 people killed when a suicide bomber targeted a mosque in the volatile South Waziristan Agency. Local residents said he had differences with the Taliban.

The attacker detonated his suicide jacket as Muhammad was delivering a sermon to a group of worshippers in the mosque at Wana, the headquarters of the tribal region.

About 30 others were injured in the attack. Officials said the death toll could rise as many of the injured were in a critical condition. The mosque, located within a religious school run by Muhammad, was severely damaged by the blast.

Witnesses said the bomber, who joined the worshippers, suddenly blew himself up. They said they had seen several bodies and human flesh and blood spattered on the walls and floor of the mosque.

Maulana Noor Muhammad, a noted cleric who was elected to the previous National Assembly or lower house of parliament as an independent candidate, had survived several attempts on his life.

Earlier in the day, eight persons were killed and 10 more injured when a bomb ripped through a jirga or tribal council in the restive Kurram tribal region.

The remote-controlled blast occurred when the jirga was meeting in Khomcha area to settle a dispute regarding the ownership of a school. A school teacher who was acting as a mediator was among those killed.

In the third attack, three members of a "peace committee" or anti-Taliban militia and a child were killed and six more injured when a roadside bomb went off in Mattani area, 30 km south of provincial capital Peshawar.

Police said the bomb targeted a vehicle of the peace committee. Police launched a search for the attackers. No group claimed responsibility for the three attacks.

In a separate incident, security forces arrested four militants and destroyed their hideout during an operation in Shal Gazyan area of Kurram Agency.

Hundreds of people have died in clashes between rival Shia and Sunni tribesmen in the Kurram Agency since late 2007.

PTI