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Burqa-clad bomber kills 44 Bajaurians

Burqa-clad bomber kills 44 Bajaurians
PESHAWAR/ BAJAUR: A burqa-clad suicide bomber attacked a crowd of people waiting for aid in Bajaur on Saturday, killing at least 44 of them, officials said. The attack in the Bajaur region came a day after a clash between the Taliban and security forces in the neighbouring Mohmand region that left 11 soldiers and 24 militants dead.
“I myself have counted 40 bodies but the death toll could rise as several wounded people are in critical condition,” Dosti Rehman, an official at the main government hospital in Bajaur, told Reuters.
Zakir Hussain, the top government official in Bajaur, confirmed the death toll and said 60 tribesmen were wounded. He said the death toll could rise as some of the wounded were in critical condition. Several women and children were among casualties, officials said.
The suicide bomber, who was wearing a head-to-toe burqa but whose gender has not been ascertained, detonated explosives as hundreds of people from the Salarzai tribe were heading towards a food distribution centre set up by the World Food Programme (WFP) for people forced from their homes by earlier fighting between security forces and al Qaeda-linked militants. A WFP spokesman said the attack took place where people were being screened at a security checkpoint near their centre. Witnesses said the attacker first threw hand grenades at tribesmen before detonating the bomb. “First there were two small explosions and people started running for cover. But within seconds there was a major blast and there were dead bodies scattered everywhere,” witness Hussain Ahmed said. “It was very terrifying.” The WFP has halted distribution of food and services in Bajaur agency due to the attack. Meanwhile, President Asif Ali Zardari and Prime Minister Gilani strongly condemned the bomb blast in Bajaur Agency. They deplored the loss of precious lives in the blast and termed the act as a brutal activity of the militants who have no regard for the human and religion, added that these militant are on the run the brave people of Pakistan are united against them. They said that fight against these elements would continue till their complete elimination. President, Prime Minister directed the authorities for provision of best health facilities to the injured. -Agencies


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