A suicide bomber hit a Pakistani mosque during Friday prayers, killing at least 43 people and wounding more than 100 others in the tribal district of Khyber, officials said.
It was the deadliest attack for three months in the nuclear-armed Muslim country awash with violence blamed on Taliban and al Qaeda-linked networks where U.S. special forces killed Osama bin Laden on May 2.
The explosion came as a U.S. drone strike targeting militants in a house further south in the northwestern tribal belt killed at least four.
The Khyber bomb exploded after more than 500 people had packed into the mosque in the town of Jamrud, 25 kilometres from Peshawar, the main city in the northwest where most of the violence in Pakistan is concentrated. Senior administration official Sayed Ahmed Jan told AFP that the bomb had exploded seconds after the main prayer ended.
The deputy chief of the Khyber tribal district administration said 43 people had been killed and 117 wounded. “It was a suicide attack. The bomber was wearing about 8-10 kg of explosives and was on foot. He detonated in the main prayer hall,” said Khalid Mumtaz Kundi.
9 dead in attack on British Council
Taliban attackers laid siege to a British cultural centre in the Afghan capital on Friday, killing at least nine people during an hours-long assault on the 92nd anniversary of Afghanistan’s independence from British rule.
A suicide bomber in car blew himself up in front of the gate of the British Council in Kabul before dawn, and another car packed with explosives detonated moments later while four attackers, three of them men clad in the all-enveloping burqa cloak worn by Afghan women, stormed the compound, police said.
The Council is not part of the British embassy in Kabul’s diplomatic zone.