Relatives and volunteers shift a body from a hospital after a suicide attack in Peshawar on March 11, 2012. PHOTO: AFP
PESHAWAR: At least 15 people were killed and 33 others were injured when a suicide bomber exploded himself at a funeral procession in Badhaber, in the outskirts of Peshawar city on Sunday.
A suicide bomber exploded himself in a funeral procession in the central graveyard of Badhaber, bordering Khyber Agency. Seven of the injured are in a critical condition.
The Tehreek-e-Taliban (TTP) Darra Adam Khel claimed responsibility for the attack.
TTP spokesperson, speaking from an undisclosed location, told the media that the target of the attack was Deputy Speaker of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly Khushdil Khan because he was assisting the local peace committees in combating the militants.
Khan was present at the funeral ceremony but escaped unhurt minutes before the bomber exploded his suicide vest.
Station House Officer (SHO) Abid confirmed the suicide attack and said that around 6kg of explosives and ball bearings were used in the attack, the remains of the bomber were also recovered.
A vehicle and a motorcycle were also destroyed in the blast, and the officials initially speculated that the bomb might have been planted on the motorcycle.
Eyewitness Zafar who was admitted at the Lady Reading Hospital (LRH) told The Express Tribune that the timing of the funeral was altered and the funeral took place at least 15 minutes before its time
“After the funeral prayers were offered, we left the ground and then an explosion took place. There were body parts strewn all around,” Zafar said.
Police officials said that the funeral was of a woman who was ‘mistakenly’ killed when a bullet from her son’s pistol was fired yesterday. Sources added that a cousin of the deputy speaker was also killed in the attack.
“The attack is a reaction of the security forces operation in Khyber Agency,” said Deputy Speaker Khan while speaking to the media.
The MS of Lady Reading Hospital Rahim Jan Afirdi told journalists that 31 injured had been brought to the hospital.
“The condition of five people is critical,” he said and confirmed that there were thirteen dead bodies at the hospital.
The attack comes at a time when security forces killed around 39 militants in Bara, Khyber Agency in an operation that lasted for many hours. Four security personnel including an officer were killed in the battle.
The outskirts of Peshawar have more than often been a battleground between the security forces aided by the Lashkar and the militants. Thirty seven people were killed and more than 50 were injured when a suicide bomber targeted a funeral procession in March last year in Adezai.