Pak mosque bombing death toll rises to 36
The death toll from a Taliban suicide bombing at a packed mosque in Pakistan’s restive northwest tribal region has risen to 36 after several of those injured in the attack died in hospitals, officials said on Saturday.
The attack targeted the weekly Friday prayers in Mohmand Agency, bordering Afghanistan. The bomber shouted ‘Allahu Akbar’ and blew himself up when the prayers were in progress.
At least five of those killed were children. The death toll has now risen to 36 after more people succumbed to their injuries, said assistant political agent of the agency Haseebur Rehman.
A curfew has been imposed in the area serach operations were being conducted to arrest other planners of the attack. Nearly 200 worshippers were inside the mosque when the bomber struck. The death toll on Friday was reported to be 28.
Jamat-ul-Ahrar, a splinter group of Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan, claimed responsibility for the attack, saying it was carried out to avenge the deaths of 13 of its members in 2009.
Pakistani Taliban routinely targets courts, schools and mosques in the tribal region, where the military has launched a massive operation to flush out the terrorists since 2014.
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif in a statement has expressed grief over the loss of lives and called it a “cowardly attack by terrorists (who) cannot shatter the government’s resolve to eliminate terrorism from the country.”
Friday’s attack came on a day when Sharif vowed to continue the war against militancy till the elimination of the last terrorist. The Pakistani Taliban was formed in 2007.