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Friday prayer attacks kill 20, injure about 50
Khyber mosque suicide attack kills 48
Teenage suicide bomber is blamed
By Javed Aziz Khan
KHYBER AGENCY – At least 48 fasting worshippers were killed and more than 100 others were wounded in the Jamia Mosque in the Ghundi area of Jamrud, Khyber Agency, August 19, when a teenage suicide bomber struck during Friday prayers during Ramadan.
The explosion caved in the mosque’s roof. The explosion scattered body parts, destroyed copies of the Koran, turbans and caps throughout the mosque.
Assistant Political Agent of Jamrud Syed Ahmad Jan confirmed the deaths of at least 40 people, but said the number would go up as many of the wounded were badly injured. He described the bombing as a suicide attack that used 8kg of explosives.
“Ambulances rushed to the spot to shift the wounded to the hospitals in Peshawar,” Jan said.
Khyber Tribal District Administration Deputy Chief Khalid Mumtaz Kundi told AFP the bomber blew himself up “in the main prayer hall.” He was wearing blackish clothes, standing in the back row of the mosque, according to eyewitnesses.
Villagers rushed to rescue the wounded, reaching them before ambulances could arrive.
Women also raced to the mosque in a panic, seeking to find relatives who had gone to offer Friday prayers. Mosques are crowded throughout Ramadan.
About 200 worshippers, mostly from the same village, were praying when the bomber struck.
Security forces cordoned off the area afterward and increased inspections on the road between Jamrud and Peshawar.
“We had finished the Friday prayers and people were offering the remaining prayers (Sunnahs) when the teenager blew himself up,” said eyewitness Abdul Qayyum. “When the smoke and the dust settled, injured people were crying for help, many were falling unconscious while others ran in panic.”
“I was standing in the middle of the mosque when the bomber blew himself up in the last row,” said Mir Samad, a young man receiving treatment at the Hayatabad Medical Complex, which declared a state of emergency.
“There was a huge flame after the blast and I saw mutilated bodies and many wounded,” Mir said.
Officials condemned the attack.
“Muslims cannot kill worshipping Muslims inside a mosque during the holy month of Ramadan,” Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Information Minister Mian Iftikhar Hussain said. “Those who are doing it are neither Muslims nor humans, but their days are numbered and they will be eliminated soon.”
Medics brought 12 bodies and more than 50 wounded to the Hayatabad Medical Complex, according to the hospital.
Other wounded received treatment at the Jamrud local hospital and Lady Reading Hospital in Peshawar.
No group has claimed responsibility yet.
This was not the first suicide bombing of a mosque in Khyber Agency. A bomber killed more than 70 worshippers at the Jamrud central mosque March 27, 2009. In another attack on Friday prayers in February 2010, a suicide bomber killed 30 worshippers at a Tirah Valley mosque.