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Suicide attack outside Masjid kills 12

A suicide bomber blew himself up among a group of policemen during clashes at the Lal Masjid, killing at least 12 people.

world Updated: Jul 28, 2007 02:45 IST

A suicide bomber blew himself up among a group of policemen during clashes at the Lal Masjid in Pakistan's capital on Friday, killing at least 12 people, most of them police, officials said.



Policemen's caps and shoes lay alongside body parts at the scene of the blast in one of the leafy city's busiest

bazaars

, where police were resting after firing tear gas at stone-throwing protesters, an AFP correspondent said.



"A man detonated explosives strapped to his body among two rows of Punjab police constabulary members who were there on duty because of the unrest at the Lal Masjid," the security official said on condition of anonymity.



"At least 12 people have been killed and many wounded. Most of the dead were policemen," he added.



Interior Secretary Kamal Shah, who gave a provisional death toll of 11, seven of whom he said were police, said: "The incident was linked to the Lal masjid situation."



"I saw bodies flying through the air, some were without legs and some were without arms. I put as many as I could into ambulances," policeman Mukhtar Ahmad said.



No group claimed responsibility for the attack but it comes amid a wave of violence following the week-long siege and subsequent storming of the mosque between July 3 and 11.



Religious Affairs Minister Ijaz-ul Haq reopened the complex — renamed the Central Mosque — on Thursday, with bullet holes from the bitter fighting plastered over by workmen and damaged fans and lighting all repaired.



"I was told everything would be peaceful. I was never interested in taking up this job and after today (Friday) I will never do it," Imam Mohammad Ashfaq, the government appointed cleric, said as he left with a police escort.