Taliban suicide bombing kills 23 at mosque in north-west Pakistan

A Taliban suicide bomber blew himself up among worshippers at a mosque in north-western Pakistan on Friday, killing 23 people and wounding scores others, officials said.

The attack in Mohmand tribal district near the Afghan border was the latest in a string of bombings to hit Pakistan in recent weeks after months of calm.

The bomber hit the mosque as people were coming out of the compound after Friday prayers, local administration official Siraj Khan told dpa.

The blast caused a part of the building to collapse, local administration chief Naveed Akbar said.

At least five children were among the dead, Akbar added. 

Nearly three dozen injured people were taken to the hospital in nearby Bajaur town, doctor Khan Saeed said, adding that all of them are in a stable condition.

The Jamaatul Ahrar faction of the Pakistani Taliban, which allegedly operates from Afghanistan, claimed responsibility for the attack, saying pro-government militia members were the target. 

Pakistan's lawless tribal regions on the Afghan border were long controlled by Islamist militants linked to al-Qaeda before being pushed back by the military in a series of offensives launched June 2014 onwards.

But their ability to carry out surprise attacks against so-called "soft civilian" targets remains intact.

Last update: Fri, 16/09/2016 - 19:22

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