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Pak mosque bombing toll rises to 70

The toll rose as more bodies were dug out from the rubble of the blast which shattered the mosque and some of the victim succumbed to their injuries later.

Written by Agencies | Islamabad | Published: March 28, 2009 3:13:15 pm

As grief stricken relatives and residents buried the victims,the death toll from the bloody suicide bombing of a mosque in northwestern Pakistan on Saturday rose to 70,an official said.

The toll rose as more bodies were dug out from the rubble of the blast which shattered the mosque and some of the victim succumbed to their injuries in hospital.

The bomber struck at the mosque in Jamrud in the Khyber tribal region on Friday when it was packed with over 300 worshippers who had gathered for Friday prayers.

The blast was so powerful that the mosque caved in,with many people being trapped in the rubble. Tariq Hayat Khan,the Political Agent of the semi-autonomous Khyber Agency,told reporters on Saturday that the attack had killed 70 people,including 23 personnel of the paramilitary Frontier Corps and Khasadar militia.

Over 130 people were injured,30 of them seriously,local officials said. Many of the injured are still admitted in hospitals in Jamrud and Peshawar,the capital of the North West Frontier Province.

Authorities in Jamrud have detained two suspects for questioning in connection with the bombing.

Khan said 53 of the dead had been identified so far. The funerals of about 40 people were held in different parts of Khyber Agency on Saturday.

No group has claimed responsibility for the attack. Officials have said a large number of Frontier Corps and Khasadar militia who were in the mosque could have been the target of the suicide bomber.

The attack was the deadliest suicide bombing in Pakistan since an attacker rammed a truck packed with 600 kg of explosives into the Marriott Hotel in Islamabad in September last year,killing about 60 people.

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