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Suicide bombing on mosque in Pakistan kills at least 65

PESHAWAR, Pakistan — At least 65 people were killed Friday afternoon in a suicide bomb attack on a northwest Pakistan mosque filled with worshipers, another in a series of terror strikes on mosques and shrines across the country.

Pakistani television also reported that militants carried out a grenade attack Friday evening on a mosque in the Badhber area outside Peshawar.

According to initial reports, three worshipers were killed and another 15 injured in that attack.

The first blast occurred in Darra Adam Khel, a town just outside Pakistan's largely lawless tribal belt, where Taliban and al-Qaida militants maintain strongholds.

At least 300 people had gathered in the Wali Muhammad mosque for prayers Friday afternoon when the powerful blast caused the roof of the building to collapse, local authorities said.

It was Pakistan's deadliest terror attack since early September, when a suicide bombing on a Shiite Muslim procession in the southern city of Quetta killed 65 people.

Television footage showed ambulances racing to Lady Reading Hospital in Peshawar, northwest Pakistan's largest city, and dropping off wounded men in blood-soaked tunics. The blast injured more than 70 people, some of them children. Authorities said the bomber was a teenager.

A Pakistani television channel, Geo, reported that the Pakistani Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack.

Darra Adam Khel is known as a hub for firearms production and sales, and sections of the town are used by Taliban militants as havens.

Though the Pakistani army has launched offensives against militants in several tribal regions along the Afghan border, it has failed to prevent extremists from carrying out suicide bomb attacks throughout northwest Pakistan, as well as in the country's urban centers.

Several militant attacks this year have targeted mosques or shrines linked to sects or groups that the Taliban and other Islamic militants vehemently oppose.

In July, twin suicide blasts killed 42 people visiting Pakistan's most popular Sufi shrine, Data Darbar, in Lahore.

Last month, two suicide bombers attacked crowds of Pakistanis visiting a shrine in the nation's largest city, Karachi, killing at least eight people and wounding 65 others.

The blasts in Karachi targeted a large gathering at a shrine for Abdullah Shah Ghazi, a revered eighth century Sufi Muslim saint. Islamic militant groups regard the Sufi discipline of Islam to be tantamount to heresy.

Earlier in the year, a team of gunmen and suicide bombers killed 93 people in attacks on two mosques in Lahore belonging to the minority Ahmadi sect.

Suicide bombing on mosque in Pakistan kills at least 65 11/05/10 [Last modified: Saturday, November 6, 2010 12:06am]
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