70 killed, 125 injured in Jamrud mosque attack

 * Jamrud assistant political agent fears death toll could rise 
* Two-storey mosque collapses, leaving dozens trapped under rubble 
* Taliban suspected of carrying out attack

By Sajid Ali and Qazi Rauf 

JAMRUD: At least 70 people were killed - according to various TV channels - and 
125 injured when a suicide bomber blew himself up at a mosque during Friday 
prayers near Baghiari checkpost area in Jamrud tehsil of Khyber Agency, said 
political administration officials. 

Jamrud Assistant Political Agent Fida Bangash told Daily Times that 10 security 
personnel were also among the dead. He said that 25 of those injured were in 
critical condition, and expressed fear that the death toll could rise. 

The official said that 115 Khasadaars were positioned at a nearby checkpost, 
three had been deployed outside the mosque and several were inside. 

A witness told reporters that a man who had arrived in a black car entered the 
mosque - located on the Pak-Afghan Highway - during the sermon and blew himself 

Mosque: The explosion caused the two-storey structure to collapse on almost 250 
worshippers - leaving most of them trapped in the rubble. 

Locals arrived at the scene and started searching for people trapped under the 
rubble of the mosque. An emergency was declared at Peshawar hospitals, and 
almost 100 injured people were taken to the provincial capital for treatment. 

Addressing reporters, Khyber Agency Political Agent Tariq Hayat confirmed that 
it was a suicide attack. 

Taliban: According to the AP news agency, a government official has accused the 
Taliban of carrying out the bombing in revenge for a recent offensive aimed in 
part at protecting the major supply route for NATO and US troops in Afghanistan 
that passes in front of the mosque. 

President Asif Ali Zardari and Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani strongly 
condemned the suicide attack, and vowed that the perpetrators would be brought 
to justice, according to separate government statements. 

The NWFP chief minister and the governor have also condemned the attack.


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