Bomb blast in Pakistan kills 13

March 1st, 2008 - 1:02 am ICT by admin  

A file-photo of Pervez Musharraf
(Second Lead)
Islamabad, Feb 29 (DPA) At least 13 people were killed and more than 50 wounded in a suicide bomb attack Friday in northwest Pakistan during the funeral of a local police official who was killed earlier in the day by a roadside bomb, officials said. Many of the dead and wounded were fellow policemen who had gathered for funeral prayers for Javed Iqbal, a deputy police superintendent, in his home village of Mangora in the volatile North-West Frontier Province (NWFP) when the attack occurred.

Islamic militants, who frequently target security forces in the province, were suspected to be behind the attack.

“We have received 13 bodies so far and more than 50 are injured,” said Habib Ullah Khan, medical officer at the hospital in Saido Sharif, a town hear Mangora. “Some bodies are still lying at the scene.”

DawnNews TV reported that at least 24 people were killed and 39 injured. However, interior ministry spokesman Javed Iqbal Cheema said he could only confirm 11 deaths.

“That’s the figure from the field. Many people were seriously injured, so it could rise,” he said.

Khan said the funeral was held on the grounds of a local high school in Mangora, which lies in Swat district, where the Pakistani Army has been trying to flush out armed Islamic militants who had taken over dozens of villages in October 2007.

Friday morning, suspected Islamic militants killed Iqbal and two fellow policemen by targeting their vehicle with a remote-control bomb in the NWFP’s Dera Ismail Khan district.

“He was leaving for the office from his residence when suspected militants targeted his vehicle with a remote control roadside bomb,” said Hamza Masud, the district police chief.

Dera Ismail Khan lies close to Pakistan’s lawless tribal areas, from where Taliban, Al Qaeda and other armed militant groups control many villages.

Pakistan has suffered more than five dozen suicide attacks in the past 13 months that have killed more than 1,000 people in a campaign that escalated after Army commandos stormed the Red Mosque in Islamabad to end a siege by armed militants. Hundreds of people were believed to have died in the attack.

Opposition parties who swept to power in national elections on Feb 18 will immediately face the problem of Islamic militancy and suicide bombings that increased during the watch of embattled President Pervez Musharraf.

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