37 die in suicide blast at funeral in Pakistan

37 die in suicide blast at funeral in Pakistan

The bomber targeted the funeral prayers of the wife of Hakeem Khan, a leader of the “peace committee” or anti-Taliban militia of Adezai, a tribal area near Peshawar, the capital of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province.

The attacker, a youth who was on foot, joined a crowd of mourners at Mattani, 35 km south of Peshawar, and detonated his explosive vest. Over 200 tribesmen were attending the funeral.

Bomb disposal experts from the army later carried out the controlled detonation of a bomb that was found at the site of the attack.

The suicide attack left 37 people dead and 52 injured, The Express Tribune reported.
The condition of 10 of the injured was serious, officials said.

The Darra Adam Khel chapter of the banned Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan claimed responsibility for the attack, saying it was carried out to avenge the killing of militants in a military operation in Adezai area. Footage on television showed bloodied shoes and caps lying at the site of the attack. A pall of gloom hung over the Adezai area as people buried the dead.

Witnesses and local residents said 25 people, including young boys and elderly men, were killed instantly while others died in hospital.

Anti-Taliban militia

The anti-Taliban militia of Adezai, formed in 2008, has been at the forefront of efforts by tribesmen to flush out militants from the region around Peshawar.

A leader of the militia, Abdul Malik, was killed in a suicide attack in 2009. In recent months, leaders of the militia have complained that the government has not been providing adequate support for their efforts to take on the Taliban.

The Taliban have repeatedly threatened members of pro-government militias in northwest Pakistan. The militants want to have control on areas surrounding Peshawar so that they can gain unfettered access to the city. Members of the anti-Taliban militia complained that there was no security at the funeral even though they had informed authorities about several threats issued by the Taliban in recent days.

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