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Pakistani suicide bomber kills 40 in attack on elders

A suicide bomber blew himself up at a peace meeting of tribal elders in north-west Pakistan yesterday, killing at least 40 people and injuring more than 100.

Thousands were at the meeting when a young man walked up to a group of elders and detonated his bomb, witnesses said. The gathering had been called to finalise a resolution that would punish anyone who helped Muslim militants.

"It was a huge explosion and left body parts and blood scattered on the ground," said Ramin Khan, a participant at the meeting in the North West Frontier Province town of Darra Adam Khel, about 25 miles south of Peshawar. He also received leg and facial injuries in the attack.

Dr Hamid Afridy, the area's chief medical officer, said he counted 40 bodies, some with severed limbs and mutilated faces. "We have dispatched more than 100 injured to hospitals," he said, adding that he feared the death toll could rise.

Television footage showed blood, shoes and caps littering the bombing site – a tree-lined ground amid wheat fields that is only a yards away from brick homes.

It was the third suicide attack in three days in the region where security forces are battling pro-Taliban militants. The death toll from those three attacks has exceeded 80.