Death toll in Pakistan suicide blast rises to 43December 29th, 2008 - 3:28 pm ICT by IANS
Islamabad, Dec 29 (IANS) The death toll in the suicide car bombing at a polling station in Pakistan’s restive North West Frontier Province (NWFP) rose to 43 Monday even as a group identifying itself as Taliban Hamdard claimed responsibility for the attack, officials said.Rescue workers said that five more dead bodies were recovered Monday from the rubble of the school in Buner that was hit by a car loaded with explosives during a by-election in the district Sunday.
Police said the death toll in the blast had risen from Sunday’s count of 34 but were not sure of the exact number of the dead. However, a rescue worker associated with the Edhi Welfare Service said in all 43 people have been killed so far.
The rescue worker, Hammad Khan, told IANS that according to witnesses the Suzuki car came close to the polling station and the driver spoke to a few people about the activity and presence of people inside the school that had been declared a polling station. After that, the terrorist detonated the explosives.
According to Khan, the attacker was also killed in the blast.
Police said a group identifying itself as Taliban Hamdard (Taliban sympathisers) has claimed responsibility for the attack via an announcement on a private illegal FM radio channel. The militants said they were against the election since it was “un-Islamic” and vowed to punish those involved in the poll process.
However, a senior official of the interior ministry said they haven’t received any information in this regard and investigations into the incident have been launched.
The by-polls were being held for the National Assembly constituency in which the candidate of the right wing Jamaat-e-Islami was leading, according to the last reports from the Election Commission.
However, polling in 11 stations was stopped after the blast. It will continue after counting of votes polled till the attack.