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48 killed in suicide attack on Jamrud mosque

20 August, 2011

JAMRUD: A view of the site where at least 48 people have been killed and dozens more wounded after a blast ripped through a mosque in Jamrud. APP
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JAMRUD: Forty-eight people were killed and 110 sustained injuries when a teenaged suicide bomber blew himself up at a mosque during the Friday prayers in Jamrud subdivision of Khyber Agency, official and local sources said.

The devastating explosion took place at 1.40pm at the Madokhel village mosque in the Ghundi area on the Warsak Road in Jamrud. Eyewitnesses said the faithful were busy praying when the boy, aged around 16, detonated explosives strapped to his body. Wearing a small beard, the young boy in black clothes was seen entering the mosque.

An injured eyewitness, Sadiq, 20, told our sources at the Hayatabad Medical Complex that as they stood up for prayers, he saw a boy rushing inside the mosque and blowing himself up. "After the blast, I heard cries of the injured. I also sustained injuries on legs and arm," he said from his hospital bed.

Another eyewitness, Hazrat Khan, said he rushed out of the mosque after sustaining minor injuries on the head and chest in the explosion. Those injured in a stampede soon after the explosion were mostly children, a local resident Arab Khan told our sources.

The death toll kept climbing as bodies were pulled out of the debris and relatives began reporting that their family members were missing. From 20 it went up to 40 and then official and hospital sources said 45 people had been killed in the attack.

Three of the critically wounded persons later expired in hospitals, raising the death toll to 48. It could rise further as some of the injured were in critical condition at different hospitals.

Hospital sources said 16 bodies and 39 injured persons were brought to the Khyber Teaching Hospital, Peshawar, seven bodies and 44 wounded to the Hayatabad Medical Complex, Peshawar, and two dead and 22 injured to Tehsil Headquarters Hospital, Jamrud. Besides, five critically injured persons were admitted to the Lady Reading Hospital, Peshawar. Most of the dead and injured were taken to public hospitals nearest to Jamrud where the bombing took place.

Most of the dead belonged to Ghundi area of Jamrud where the villagers kept digging graves until dark. They were both tired and sad as almost every house was affected. There was gloom and anger in the area.

Relatives rushed the injured to hospitals in Peshawar where in some cases doctors and nurses were unavailable or in short supply, partly due to Ramazan. The crowding at the hospitals by the relatives and attendants also created problems for doctors and other staff trying to save lives of the injured.

Nobody has yet claimed responsibility for the bombing. However, the Kukikhel Afridi tribesmen, who live in Jamrud and were the target of attack, felt it was a retaliation by the Tariq Afridi Group of Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) against their tribe for fighting and expelling the TTP militants from their mountainous territory in the remote Tirah Valley of Khyber Agency. The Kukikhel Afridis live in both Jamrud and Tirah Valley.

The TTP militants aligned to the Tariq Afridi Group have been suffering losses at the hands of Kukikhel tribal fighters and losing their bases in Tirah. It was believed that bombing of the mosque was to avenge the militants.

Soon after the blast, hundreds of tribesmen, political administration officials and security forces personnel with heavy machinery reached the site of the bombing and started rescue work.

According to rescuers, they had rescued 70 injured and retrieved around 40 bodies from the debris in the initial hours of the bombing. Those identified among the dead were Kashif, Haji Gulab Qais, Haji Jehangir, Manzoor, Lachi Gul, Amin, Ikhtiar Shah, Javid Nadeem, Gul Khan, Arbab, Khan Asghar, Haroon, Ghafoor, Fayyaz, Shafiq, Abdul Sattar (Afghan national), Faisal, Yasmeen, Saraf, Muhammad Shah, Gulzar, Ismail (Afghan national), Rafiq, Abid, Hekmat, Abdul Lateef, Zubair, Sahulat, Gul Wahid, Hakumat, Muhammadullah, Samiullah, Shahzad hailing from Bara and one from Faisalabad.

Some of the injured were Muhammad Rehan, Sadiq, Janas Khan, Arab Khan and Hazrat Khan. The dead also included 14 persons from one family, including six children aged 13 to 17 years of age.

Body organs were scattered far and wide in the mosque following the blast. Some of the bodies were badly mutilated. The mosque was damaged and was littered with shoes, clothes and caps of the faithful. The shrapnels created holes in the walls and roof of the mosque.

Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Governor Masood Kausar, meanwhile, condemned the terrorist attack and expressed deep grief and anguish over the loss of precious lives in the cowardly act. In a statement, the governor said shedding blood of innocent worshippers in the holy month of Ramazan and on holy Friday was highly condemnable.

A press release said the governor contacted the political agent and directed him to proceed to the scene of the attack to supervise the relief and rescue activities and ensure adequate and immediate treatment to the injured.

Awami National Party leader and former federal minister Muhammad Afzal Khan Lala condemned the suicide attack on the faithful in Jamrud and regretted that the terrorists neither spared the Friday prayers and mosques nor observed the sanctity of the holy month of Ramazan.

He called upon the religious forces to come forward and condemn the bombing as those targeting Muslims while offering prayers on Friday in a sacred place like mosque in the holy month of Ramazan cannot be called Muslims.

APP adds: President Asif Ali Zardari and Prime Minister Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani, expressing their deep shock, strongly condemned the incident.

The president termed it an abhorrent act and said he was saddened over the heavy loss of lives. He said the government and people remain determined to defeat terrorism and said such gruesome acts cannot deter the resolve of the nation to defeat the the terrorists.

President Zardari expressed his condolences to the families of those who lost their loved ones in the terrorist act and prayed to Allah Almighty to bless the departed souls. He also prayed for courage to the families to bear their loss with equanimity.

He asked the law enforcement agencies to take strict measures for protection of lives and properties of the people and arrest of the masterminds. The prime minister said the terrorists were bringing a bad name to the religion by carrying out such cowardly acts of terrorism.

He reiterated the government's resolve to root out the scourge of terrorism as the people were united behind the democratic government to fight out extremism and terrorism. Commiserating with the bereaved families, the prime minister prayed to Allah Almighty to rest the departed souls in eternal peace.

He directed the provincial administration to provide best medical care to the injured at state expenses. President Awami National Party Asfandyar Wali Khan also strongly condemned the attack.

Federal Minister for Water and Power Syed Naveed Qamar also condemned the attack, condoled with the bereaved families and prayed for early recovery of those who sustained injuries in the blast.


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