Pakistan Suicide Bombing in Mosque Kills at Least 71
Pakistani officials say a suicide bomb has ripped through a mosque in northwest Pakistan, killing at least 70 people and critically wounding more than 80 people. There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attack.
The bombing occurred in Darra Adam Khel, an area near Pakistan's tribal regions where Taliban-led militants have been active.
Hundreds of worshippers had gathered at the Sunni mosque, which was severely damaged in the attack.
"Friday prayers were going on there and a suicide bomber entered into the mosque and during the prayers he blast himself. And some 300 to 400 people were there in the mosque," said Shahid Ullah, the district coordinating officer in the nearby garrison town of Kohat.
Immediately following the blast, part of the mosque's roof caved in trapping people in the debris.
Ambulances and private volunteers rushed to take the wounded to a hospital in Peshawar, the main city in the northwest. Television footage showed a woman shrieking in grief and beating her hands against her head, while two elderly men in blood-soaked clothes lay in a hospital corridor.
A private car sped up to the main Lady Reading Hospital with a volunteer sitting next to a body in the trunk.
Pakistan says thousands of people have been killed in suicide attacks and bombings blamed on Pakistani-Taliban and al-Qaida related extremist networks since the country joined the U.S.-led war on terror.
Pakistan's northwest tribal area borders Afghanistan and has been a central focus in the war. Washington believes the region is a melting pot of various terrorist groups responsible for deadly cross-border attacks on U.S. and NATO troops fighting in Afghanistan.
Article by Meredith Buel, VOA News