Over 90 killed in Pakistan terror bombings, plane crash

November 5th, 2010 - 11:25 pm ICT by IANS  

By Awais Saleem
Islamabad, Nov 5 (IANS) At least 93 people were killed and scores wounded in two terrorist attacks on mosques and a plane crash in Pakistan Friday.

At least 67 people were killed and over 100 wounded when a suicide bomber detonated an explosive device in a mosque near Kohat town in Pakistan’s Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KPK) province, officials and the state-run PTV said. Kohat is about 70 km from the provincial capital of Peshawar.

Hours after the Kohat bombing, another bomb exploded at a mosque in Bada Beer area of Peshawar, killing at least five worshipers and injuring dozens.

In another tragedy, 21 people, all Pakistani nationals working for a foreign oil company, were killed when a small private plane crashed near Karachi airport in southern part of the country.

Police officials said the suicide bomber who carried out the blast in the Kohat msoque was around 17-18 years old. A Geo TV report said the number of dead was feared to rise as some of the injured were critical.

“The blast targeted a mosque in Darra Adam Khel when the Friday mid-day prayers were being offered,” said Shahidullah, district cordination officer (DCO) of Kohat. “The roof of the mosque caved in and several people are still trapped under the debris,” he added.

The restive Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province has become a constant victim of terrorist activities because of its proximity with Afghanistan where the war on terror is under way since 2001, while operation against militants has also been launched in Pakistan’s northwestern areas.

There are no proper medical facilities in the area near Kohat where the attack took place, media reports said. “The injured are being shifted to Kohat and Peshawar,” Geo TV said.

Police officer Ijaz Khan said a “timer device” was used to explode a bomb when around 70 people were offering Isha (night) prayers” at a mosque in Bada Beer area of Peshawar. Some nearby buildings were also damaged in the blast.

The aircraft that crashed near Karachi belonged to private airliner JS Air. It had taken off from Karachi airport for an oil field at Bhit Shah when it crashed a few minutes later. The plane was chartered by an Italian company to carry its employees working at the oil field, Aaj TV reported.

The pilot reportedly informed air control tower about some problems with the engine shortly after taking off, Aaj TV said.

JS Air spokesman Nadeem Hanif said the plane was fit to fly and had been cleared by the maintenance staff. Director General Civil Aviation, Air Commodore (Retd.) Nasim Ahmad said that all passengers on board the plane have died.

Rescue officials said that the bodies had been badly burnt and were not easily identifiable. All victims were Pakistani nationals, the report said.

In July this year, more than 100 people on board a private Pakistani airline flight from Karachi were killed when the jet crashed in Margalla Hills near Islamabad. Bodies of 18 people have not been found till date.

(Awais Saleem can be contacted at ians.pakistan@gmail.com)

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