Bloody start to New Year in Pak

27 die as bomber rams explosives-laden vehicle into playground wall


In a separate attack, a tribal elder associated with an anti-Taliban militia and five others were killed when the vehicle they were travelling in was targeted with a roadside bomb in the restive Bajaur region.

Tribal elder Malik Gul Shah Ali Khan and five others, including a minor boy, died when the vehicle was targeted with a remote controlled bomb in Salarzai sub-division of Bajaur Agency on Friday morning, officials of the local administration said.
The suicide attack occurred at Shah Hasankhel village, located 25 km from Lakki Marwat in the southern part of the North West Frontier Province.
About 50 people were watching a volleyball game between two local teams when the bomber struck the playground’s wall with his vehicle.
State-run PTV reported that 27 people were killed while police officials said several others were injured.

Several houses collapsed due to the powerful explosion and some people were buried in the rubble. Officials said the death toll could rise.
No group has claimed responsibility for the attack, but police officials said they suspected the Taliban were behind the assault as local residents had cooperated with security forces during a recent operation against militants.
District police chief Ayub Khan said residents of Shah Hasankhel and members of a pro-government militia had expelled militants from the area with the help of security forces.

The village was earlier considered a stronghold of the Taliban.
Friday’s attack was the latest in a series of devastating suicide bombings across Pakistan that has killed over 500 people since October last year.
Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani condemned the attack and said such terrorist acts would not weaken his government’s resolve to fight terrorism till it is completely eliminated.
In Hangu district of the North West Frontier Province, two militants were killed while planting a bomb, police said.
The militants were planting the bomb beside a road when it went off with a loud bang. Both men were killed instantly. Police took their bodies into custody.
Meanwhile, at least eight militants were killed in US drone attacks in the troubled North Waziristan tribal region, a Taliban stronghold.
A missile fired by a drone struck a vehicle near Navana village in Mirali sub-division this morning, killing three militants.
Five militants were killed last night when a drone fired two missiles at a compound at Machikhel village in Mirali.

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