Bomber kills 40 in Pakistani mosque

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The Independent Online

A suicide bomber struck a mosque in a Pakistani tribal region during Friday prayers, killing at least 40 people and wounding 85 others in the deadliest attack in the country in recent weeks, officials said.

The attack came during the holy month of Ramadan, a time of fasting, sharing and heightened community spirit for Muslims.

No group immediately claimed responsibility, but the Taliban and other Islamist militants have previously targeted mosques, especially if they believe enemies – such as soldiers or anti-militant tribesmen – are using the facilities.

The mosque hit yesterday is in Ghundai, a village in the north-western Khyber tribal region. Khyber has long been a base for Islamist militants, and the Pakistani army has waged multiple operations aimed at pacifying the region but with limited success.

Some 300 people had gathered for Friday prayers in the Sunni mosque, and many were on their way out when the explosion occurred, said a local administrator, Iqbal Khan.