20 dead in Bajaur suicide bombing
ISLAMABAD (PAN): Twenty people were killed and 45 others wounded in a suicide attack in Pakistan’s tribal badland of Bajaur, bordering Afghanistan’s eastern province of Kunar, on Friday, officials said.
The suicide bomber attacked a security checkpoint in Khar, the agency headquarters, killing eight people on the spot and injuring 45 others. A dozen wounded men died later at the Tehsil Headquarters Hospital.
Islam Zeb, a political administration official, told Pajhwok Afghan News the teenaged suicide attacker and four members of a tribal police force were among the dead. The bomber on foot detonated the explosive strapped to his chest near a security patrol vehicle.
The assailant was aged between 14 and 18 years, the official said, adding security personnel sealed off the site and imposed a curfew in the area. The force head was also killed in the assault.
The outlawed Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) claimed responsibility for the bombing, with the group’s spokesman Ehsanullah Ehsan saying: “We carried out the attack. We are extremely happy with achieving our goal.”
Giving an eyewitness account, Arshad Bajauri claimed seeing more than 50 blood-stained people at the site. “Most of 500 shops in the town remain closed on Fridays; otherwise the death toll could have been higher,” he said.
Akhunzada Chatan, a parliamentarian from Bajaur, said Fazli Rabi -- head of the tribal force -- was the target of the attack. He put the death toll at 17, asking the authorities to compensate the victims’ fasmilies.
A day earlier, two bomb blasts killed five people, including pro-government tribal elders and security official, in the same region -- a hotbed of Pakistani Taliban and a scene of a series of military operations in recent years.
Doctor Habib Khan, in charge of the main hospital in Khar, confirmed receiving 12 bodies and 42 wounded people, including several young boys. He feared the fatalities could rise, as some of the injured were in critical condition.
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