67 killed in bomb attack on mosque

A suicide bomber struck a mosque frequented by anti-Taliban tribal elders in north-western Pakistan during afternoon prayers yesterday, killing at least 67 people in one of the deadliest attacks this year.

Later in the day, three grenade blasts killed three people at a mosque in another north-western area where an anti-Taliban militia was active. The blasts were the latest to hit religious gatherings and underscored the relentless security challenge in the nation, where Islamist militants have managed to strike at the state and citizens who work against them, despite pressure from army offensives.

In the first attack, the Sunni mosque's roof collapsed as hundreds of worshippers were gathered inside for the most popular prayer session of the week, and many victims were trapped in the debris. People in private vehicles rushed the wounded to hospitals in Peshawar.

The explosion was in Darra Adam Khel, an area famous for its illegal weapons bazaars and located near Pakistan's tribal regions where Taliban-led militants have been active.

Local government official Shahid Ullah said the mosque may have been targeted because local tribesmen running an anti-Taliban militia have often met there, though not on this particular Friday.