A suicide bomber killed at least 16 people and wounded 35 others as they attended Friday prayers at a mosque in a northwestern Pakistani tribal area, officials said. However ANI reported that Pakistan media has confirmed the death toll as 22.
— ANI (@ANI_news) September 16, 2016
The bombing took place in the village of Butmana in the Mohmand tribal district bordering Afghanistan where the army has been fighting against Taliban militants.
"The Friday prayer was in progress at the mosque when a suicide bomber blew himself up killing at least 16 worshippers and wounding 35 others," a senior tribal administration official told AFP.
"The area is remote and so far I have received only this information from our sources via wireless," he said.
Another local government official confirmed the information.
There was no immediate claim of responsibility, but Pakistani Taliban in particular routinely attack soft targets such as courts, schools and mosques.
Taliban militants stormed a school in Peshawar in December 2014, killing more than 150 people, mostly children, in Pakistan's deadliest-ever terror attack.
The army launched an operation in June 2014 in a bid to wipe out militant bases in the northwestern tribal areas and so bring an end to the bloody insurgency that has cost thousands of civilian lives since 2004.
Security in the country has since improved. Scattered attacks still take place, but they are fewer and of a lesser intensity than in previous years.
The Express Tribune quoted a regional official as saying that the attack happened "in the village of Payee Khan, in the troubled region of Federally Administered Tribal Areas (Fata) bordering Afghanistan."
"President Mamnoon Hussain and Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif have strongly condemned the blast," Radio Pakistan reported.
The report further quoted Hussain as saying that the cowardly attacks by terrorists cannot shatter the government's resolve to eliminate terrorism from the country.
Rescue operations are underway and the injured have been shifted to District Headquarters Hospital (DHQ) Bajaur Agency, Daily Pakistan reported.
Injured were also transported to hospitals in Bajaur Agency, Charsadda and Peshawar for treatment. There was no immediate claim of responsibility, but Pakistani Taliban routinely targets courts, schools and mosques.
The attack came on a day when Sharif vowed to continue the war against militancy and terrorism till elimination of the last terrorist. During a meeting with Army chief General Raheel Sharif on Friday, the prime minister expressed the resolve to continue the war against terrorism and militancy.
With inputs from AFP and PTI.
First Published On : Sep 16, 2016 16:55 IST