Bomb blast kills 13 children in north-west Pakistan

February 22nd, 2008 - 11:46 pm ICT by admin  

Islamabad, Feb 22 (DPA) At least 13 people were killed Friday when a roadside bomb struck a bus carrying a wedding party in Pakistan’s volatile Swat Valley, an army officer said. The victims, all children, were part of a wedding party that was travelling by bus around 3:35 pm (1035 GMT) in the valley’s Matta area when the bomb detonated, one army spokesman at the scene, who asked not to be identified, told DPA.

He said 20 people on the bus were injured.

“It was a civilian wedding convoy that was passing through a road in the Matta area, when this IED (improvised explosive device) exploded,” the officer told DPA.

He said the military was investigating whether the bomb was detonated by remote control or triggered by the bus as it passed.

An earlier report by Geo TV said that the bride from the wedding party was among 13 people killed. The report, however, made no reference to whether children were among the victims.

Swat lies in Pakistan’s North-West Frontier Province, where the army has been operating since October 2007 to flush out armed Islamic followers of a local radical cleric, Maulana Fazlullah, who had taken over dozens of villages in the valley.

Friday’s blast shattered a relative calm following national elections Monday that saw the country’s main opposition parties sweep to power.

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