At Least 13 Dead In Pakistani Mosque Attacks

[17-05-2013 06:36 PM]

Ammon News - * Bombings at two mosques in a remote valley in northwestern Pakistan have killed at least 13 people.

Local police officer Badshah Rehman said the blasts targeted worshippers attending Friday Prayers in Baz Darrah, a village in the Malakand district of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province.

Shahid Said, a worshipper injured in the attacks, described the attack to RFE/RL's Radio Mashaal from a hospital bed in the nearby town of Mingora.

"We went to the mosque in Baz Darrah for Friday Prayers. As the prayer leader finished the sermon, there was a big explosion," he said. "Then I got injured. It was a huge blast that injured my legs."

Officials said the blasts wounded more than 45 people. Rehman said one explosion trapped worshipers inside one mosque.

Hayatullah, a local rescue volunteer, said workers scrambled to pull the injured and dead from the rubble.

"We brought those bodies out soon after the explosion, but I don't know what the situation is there now," he said. "The mosque hall has the capacity for 200 to 250 people, and it has fully caved in."

Pakistani media are reporting that doctors in a local hospital have called for blood donations.

So far, no one has claimed responsibility for the attacks, but the Taliban have launched similar attacks in the region.

Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province has born the brunt of Taliban attacks since the onset of an Islamist insurgency in northwestern Pakistan in 2003.

The twin mosque bombings were the deadliest in the country since last week's election won by conservative nationalist parties who have pledged to negotiate with the Taliban.

Tehreek-e Taliban Pakistan (TTP), the largest extremist faction in the country, has denounced democracy as un-Islamic. Some 150 Pakistanis were killed in attacks claimed by the group during the election campaign.

With reporting by AP, AFP, and RFE/RL's Radio Mashaal

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