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Deadly blast rips Pakistani mosque

©

Latest update : 2008-09-10

Suspected militants hurled grenades and fired indiscriminately into a mosque in Pakistan's restive North West Frontier Province, killing at least 14 people and wounding dozens, according to local authorities.

Click here for FRANCE 24's special report on 'Pakistan's tribal badlands: The new ground zero for terror'

 

Suspected Islamist militants killed at least 14 people in a gun and grenade attack on a mosque in Pakistan's restive northwest on Wednesday, officials said.

 

"The attackers first lobbed grenades into the mosque and then opened fire with Kalashnikovs on the worshippers," Bahadur Khan, the mayor of the village in Dir district of North West Frontier Province, told Reuters.

 

Dir police chief Fida Hasan Shah said 14 people were killed and 35 wounded. He said the death toll could go up.

 

Muslims are observing the fasting month of Ramadan, and the assailants struck while people were praying.

 

Militancy has spread across the northwest in recent months.

 

Pakistani security forces, backed by artillery, killed 11 Islamist militants and wounded seven in an offensive in the northwestern Swat Valley on Wednesday, the military said.

 

After being sworn in on Tuesday, President Asif Ali Zardari vowed to fight al Qaeda and Taliban militants in the northwest.

 

Swat was one of Pakistan's main tourist destinations until last year, when Pakistani Taliban infiltrated from sanctuaries in lawless lands on the Afghan border to support a radical cleric campaigning to impose a strict interpretation of Islamic law.

 

Late last month, the Pakistan army launched a major offensive in Bajaur, a tribal region that had become a hotbed of support for al Qaeda and the Taliban. The army said 600 militants were killed.

Date created : 2008-09-10

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