70 confirmed dead in Pakistan's mosque suicide attack
IRNA - Islamic Republic News Agency
Islamabad, March 27, IRNA - A suicide bomber killed 70 worshippers in a mosque in Pakistan’s tribal region on Friday, a top government official said.
Upto 125 other people were injured in the attack in Khyber Agency tribal region when the people were offering Friday prayers, Political Agent Tariq Hayat said.
Hayat said 70 bodies were recovered and search for more is underway as more people are still under the rubble and the death toll may rise.
The injured were shifted in ambulances to hospitals in Peshawar, some 30 kilometers from the attack site.
The double-storey mosque collapsed in the attack, burying many people under the rubble, Hayat and witnesses said.
Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari and Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani on Friday strongly condemned the suicide attack at the mosque in the Khyber Agency's tribal region.
The President and Prime Minister in their separate messages vowed that the perpetrators of such heinous crime would be brought to justice.
They directed the concerned authorities to investigate into the matter. President Zardari and Prime Minister Gilani also condoled with the families of deceased persons.
Hayat said that a suicide bomber blew himself up among over 300 worshippers in the mosque in the Jamrud area of Khyber tribal region during Friday prayers.
The bomber exploded his bomb as the prayers leader started prayers at the mosque near a security check post, where security men from the check post also offer prayers.
Witnesses said that around 300 people, including security men from the check post, were offering prayers in the mosque at the time of the attack.
No group has claimed responsibility for the attack. But Taliban-linked militants are blamed for such attacks.
Hayat said that the security men were the main target but many civilians were also killed.
He said emergency was declared in hospitals in Peshawar.
The Political Agent did not rule out the involvement of militants and said that the security forces had purged the area of militants but any person can find opportunity to strike like this.
“We had been receiving threats as we were resisting these elements,” Hayat said.
The official said that he has issued ‘shoot-to-kill’ order for every miscreant if he is seen in the area. “He should be shot. We will not waste our blood,” the infuriated Hayat told reporters.
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