KHYBER, Pakistan, (Reuters) – A teenage suicide bomber blew himself up among worshippers offering Friday prayers at a mosque in northwest Pakistan, killing at least 47 people and wounding more than 70, a top government official said.
No one claimed responsibility for the attack in Jamrud, a main town in Khyber, but officials suspected Taliban militants who have been active for past years in the tribal region that shares border with Afghanistan.
Officials earlier said 34 people had been killed.
“Many of the wounded succumbed to their injuries, adding to the toll that may rise further as there are still people in critical condition,” region’s top government administrator Mutahir Zeb said.
Zeb said the attack was carried out by a teenage boy who struck when worshippers were offering prayers.
The mosque is located in an area inhabited by Kokikhel tribesmen, who are opposed to Taliban activity and have been fighting to push them out of their region. “The blast could be a reaction to that,” Zeb said.
Earlier, another senior official said about 20 bodies were brought to two hospitals, while relatives took others directly to their homes. A witness, Haji Zarmeen, said he helped removed at least 12 bodies from the rubble.
TV footage showed blood on the walls and ceiling of the mosque as people collected clothes and sandals scattered by the blast. Pakistan has seen a wave of violence in recent years in which thousands of people have been killed.