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32 militants killed in madrasa blast

world Updated: Jun 20, 2007 14:53 IST

Thirty-two suspected Al-Qaeda militants were killed in an explosion in a madrasa in North Waziristan near the Pak-Afghan border.

While locals claimed that the blast on Tuesday night in the Dattakhel area of north Waziristan was caused by a missile attack from across the border, Pakistan defence officials asserted that the explosion took place when bombs being made by the militants in the seminary accidentally went off.

Another madrasa and two adjacent houses in Dattakhel area were also destroyed in the explosion.

Pakistan's Defence spokesman Maj Gen Waheed Arshad said that several casualties occurred when bombs being made by militants accidentally exploded. He said the place where the explosions took place was a training facility.

Tribesmen from Dattakhel who reached Miranshah, headquarters of North Waziristan where Taliban and Al-Qaeda militants were holed up, brought 24 wooden coffins from the market and ordered another 24.

Around 50 students and their teachers were present in the Binori madrassa when it was hit and all of them were killed or injured, The News reported on Wednesday.

Casualties were also feared in adjoining two houses. Villagers reported seeing a drone that had flown from Afghanistan in the morning firing two missiles at the seminary and flattening its structure, it said.

Hundreds of foreign Al-Qaeda militants loyal to Osama bin Laden fled into Pakistan's tribal belt after US-led forces ousted the Taliban regime from Afghanistan in late 2001.