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Burqa clad suicide bombers kill 41 in Pakistan

Source: PTI
Last updated on: April 17, 2010 23:12 IST
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Two burqa-clad suicide bombers on Saturday struck a food distribution camp for people displaced by anti-militancy operations in north-west Pakistan, killing 41 people and injuring 65 others.

The bombers blasted their explosive vests within 10 minutes of each other at a distribution point set up by the World Food Programme in Kuccha Pakka area, located 30 km from Hangu city in the North West Frontier Province. Both bombers were clad in burqas, witnesses and officials said.

The head and legs of the attackers and pieces of the burqas worn by them were found by investigators and sent for forensic tests. Forty-one people were killed and 65 others injured by the blasts, officials said. Azmat Ali Bangash, a reporter who worked for state-run APP news agency and Samaa TV channel, was among those killed.

The first blast occurred at noon at the food distribution point, where several people were present, said Kohat Commissioner Khalid Khan Umarzai.

The second blast, which caused more deaths, went off ten minutes later when a large number of people gathered at the spot to remove bodies and help the injured, he said. Security forces cordoned off the area and an emergency was declared in hospitals in the area.

A man claiming to be a spokesman for the Lashkar-e-Jhangvi Al-Almi called Geo News channel and claimed responsibility for the suicide attack. The United Nations condemned the attack, saying it hit "Pakistan's most vulnerable, people who have already suffered because of the ongoing fighting (and) had come for humanitarian assistance".

The UN also said it was temporarily suspending relief services for displaced people till the 'security situation is assessed'.

Over 250,000 displaced by anti-militancy operations in the Orakzai and Kurram tribal regions live in Kohat and Hangu districts of NWFP. Since December 2009, the UN has been providing assistance to these people, including food and shelter. The attack in Kuccha Pakka came a day after a suicide bomber struck a hospital in the southwestern city of Quetta, killing 11 people and injuring nearly 40 others.

A cameraman for Samaa TV channel was among the dead. The suicide bomber struck when a large number of Shias had gathered at the hospital to protest the death of a Shia banker, who was shot by unidentified gunmen. A suicide car bombing at a crowded market in the Kuccha Pakka area on September 18, 2009 killed 40 people and injured 60 others.

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