|11 March, 2012 |
PESHAWAR: A suicide attack on funeral prayers of a tribal elder's wife on Sunday killed 15 people and injured 33 others in Peshawar suburbs, police and eyewitnesses said.
Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) Assembly Deputy Speaker Khushdil Khan, who also attended the prayers, escaped the bombing unhurt.
"Fourteen people have been reported killed in the attack," police officer Abid Rehman told reporters, adding that the bomber was on foot.
The attack took place in Mamakhel area of Badhaber, 15 kilometres south of Peshawar. The area houses many militants and lies on the border with the Khyber tribal region and Darra Adamkhel. Badhaber has witnessed similar attacks on funerals in the recent past.
Residents said around 300 people had gathered to offer the funeral of the wife of tribal elder Imdad Khan.
However, the AP news agency quoted Peshawar Deputy Commissioner Siraj Ahmad as saying that the explosion killed 15 people and wounded another 37.
Abid Rehman said the attacker managed to get inside the compound where funeral prayers were being held in Badhaber village.
The two officials said several of the wounded people were in critical condition.
According to Reuters, the Darra Ademkhel faction of the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) claimed responsibility for the attack.
"We are devastated," said Zahir Khan, 32, weeping while lying in a hospital bed. His elder brother died in the attack. He said they were chatting when the bomb went off. "I never knew I was going to lose my brother forever."
"Thank God the bomber was a bit late to explode himself, otherwise, he would have killed dozens of people," said Syed Rehman, a resident.
Khushdil Khan expressed his party's resolve to continue the struggle against militancy. "It is a fight for the country's survival," he said.
"How is attacking a funeral Islamic in any way?" ANP chief Asfanyar Wali Khan told reporters in Islamabad.
"I say that these people aren't Islam's followers," he added. "I don't even consider them human." The TTP has targeted several of ANP leaders in the past.
Meanwhile, President Asif Ali Zardari condemned the bombing, saying that such attacks could not shake the government's resolve to fight militancy.