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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Extremist group claims twin blasts which killed 34 in Pakistan

IRNA - Islamic Republic News Agency

Islamabad, April 18, IRNA -- An extremist group claimed responsibility for twin bomb blasts at a registration camp of the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in Pakistan’s northwest which killed at least 34 people and injured dozens others, a senior official said.

The blasts ripped through a relief distribution camp near the city of Kohat for IDPs of a military operation in Orakzai tribal agency.

A police Investigation Officer Hussain Ghulam confirmed that 34 people were killed in the blasts at ‘Kacha Pakha’, a small village 20 kilometer south of Kohat.

A spokesman for Kohat Police, Fazal Naeem also said that 34 people died and some 50 others were injured. He said that bomb disposal squad believed that both blasts were suicide attacks. The injured were shifted to hospitals in Kohat and Hangu and the authorities declared emergency in hospitals.

An extremist group ‘Lashkar-e-Jhangvi Al-alami’ claimed responsibility for the attacks.

A purported spokesman for the group, Salman Haider, phoned reporters in Peshawar to claim responsibility for the attacks.

Naeem said that a suicide bomber exploded his bomb when the IDPs were at the center for registration. Seven minutes later another bomber struck the people who were shifting the injured to hospital.

The police spokesman said that all those killed were Shiite IDPs from different areas of Orakzai agency, where the security forces are engaged in major operation against the Taliban militants.

Orakzai agency had been the stronghold of Taliban militants and officials say that militants from South Waziristan tribal region have arrived in Orakzai agency.

A reporter working for the state television and a private Samaa television, Azmat Ali Bangash was also killed in the blasts. Bangash had reported the killing of Taliban chief Hakimullah Mehsood some two months ago and his family said that he had received threats from militants groups.

Pakistan television reported some 300 IDPs were present at the center when the bombers struck them.

Earlier Commissioner Kohat, Khalid Omarzai said that the blasts were carried out through remote control at the newly established IDPs registration point.

Omarzai said that the first blast occurred at 12 noon and when the people gathered for relief activities the second blast hit the local rescue workers, causing more casualties. He said the targeted registration point was set up 10 days ago.

Some 200,000 people have been displaced as the result of the military offensive against the Taliban militants in Orakzai agency, according to the UNHCR.

The IDPs from Orakzai and Kurram tribal regions have been camped in Kohat and Hangu districts.

President Asif Ali Zardari and Prime Minister Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani strongly condemned the Kucha Pakha, Kohat blasts and deplored the loss of lives and condoled with the bereaved families, their offices said.

They ordered for providing better medical facilities to the injured and also ordered an immediate inquiry.

Interior Minister Rehman Malik asked the provincial government of North West Frontier Province to send a report about the attacks.

**1771

End News / IRNA / News Code 1061501



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