PESHAWAR, Pakistan: The death toll from a Taliban suicide bomb attack on a mosque in northwest tribal Pakistan rose to 30 on Saturday, officials said.
The Friday attack targeted a mosque in the Mohmand tribal district bordering Afghanistan where the army has been fighting against Taliban militants.
“Two more injured people died of their wounds early today raising the death toll to 30,” deputy chief of the Mohmand tribal district administration Naveed Akbar told AFP.
The bomber came in as Friday prayers were in progress and blew himself up in the main hall. A curfew has been imposed in the area since the bombing.
Taliban faction Jamaat-ul-Ahrar (JuA) claimed responsibility for the attack, saying it was carried out to avenge the deaths of 13 of its members and arrests of others by a local vigilante force in 2009.
Since 2007 the government has encouraged vigilante forces comprising tribesmen— locally known as peace committees— to defend their villages against the Taliban.
Pakistan’s deadliest ever attack occurred in Peshawar in December 2014, when Taliban militants stormed a school killing more than 150 people, mostly children.
The army launched an operation in June 2014 in a bid to wipe out militant bases in the northwestern tribal areas and so bring an end to the bloody insurgency that has cost thousands of civilian lives since 2004.
Last year, the country recorded its lowest number of killings since 2007, when the Pakistani Taliban was formed. AFP