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Suicide bomber kills 30 worshippers at mosque

A suicide bomber killed at least 30 people and wounded 40 attending prayers at a mosque in Pakistan's northwest yesterday. The violence came as the country's leaders urged a visiting US envoy for more aid to stave off the Taliban-led militancy.

Police said a man wearing an explosive vest entered the mosque but was recognised by some worshippers as a stranger. When they confronted the man, he blew himself up, said Atlass Khan, a police official in Upper Dir. There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the blast at the Sunni Muslim mosque in the Haya Gai area of Upper Dir, a rough and tumble district next to Swat. It was unclear if sectarian differences played a role.

Upper Dir police chief, Ejaz Ahmad, said the confirmed death toll was 30, but "there are more body parts, which may make another four to six bodies".

The bomber struck as the Pakistani army said it had made more gains in the nearby Swat valley, an operation that the army chief said had "decisively turned" in the military's favour. AP