No less than 25 Muslims have been killed with dozens injured after a suicide bombing claimed by a Taliban splinter group at a mosque in a northwestern Pakistani tribal area, a local official said.”
The suicide bomber was in a crowded mosque, he shouted ‘Allahu akbar’ (God is greatest) and then there was a huge blast,” Naveed Akbar, deputy administrator of Mohmand Agency, told Reuters.
The blast struck as Muslims gathered for Friday prayers in the village of Butmana in the Mohmand tribal district bordering Afghanistan where the army has been fighting against Taliban militants.
“The Friday prayer was in progress at the mosque when a suicide bomber blew himself up killing at least 25 worshippers and wounding 35 others,” a senior tribal administration official told AFP.
“The area is remote and so far I have received only this information from our sources via wireless,” he said.
Akbar added that some fatalities appear to have been caused when part of the mosque caved in from the force of the blast.
“A portion of the mosque and verandah collapsed in the blast and fell on worshippers. We are still retrieving bodies and the injured from the rubble of the mosque,” he said.
Pakistani Taliban faction Jamaat ul-Ahrar claimed responsibility for the attack, with local tribal elder Haji Subhanullah Mohmand suggesting it may have been revenge for the killing of a militant by tribal volunteers.
“It seems to have enraged the militants and they got their revenge by carrying out a suicide attack in a mosque today,” he said.
Meanwhile, Nawaz Sharif, the Prime Minister of Pakistan, condemned the bombing and said “attacks by terrorists cannot shatter the government’s resolve to eliminate terrorism from the country.”