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Pakistan suicide bomb kills scores at volleyball match. 88 killed
BayBak, Azerbaijan | 1235 days ago | Friday, 1st January , 2010 , 23:32 [pm] | International
|.|| At least 88 people have been killed by a suicide bomb attack at a volleyball court in the troubled north-west of Pakistan, local police say.
Police chief Ayub Khan said the
At least 88 people have been killed by a suicide bomb attack at a volleyball court in the troubled north-west of Pakistan, local police say.
Police chief Ayub Khan said the bomber drove towards a field where people were watching a match, before detonating a load of high-intensity explosives.
The attack happened near Lakki Marwat, close to North and South Waziristan.
The Pakistani army has been conducting a campaign against the Taliban in the tribal areas since October.
The number of people killed in militant attacks in Pakistan is fast approaching 600 in just three months.
Militants have attacked both “hard” targets, including army or intelligence offices, and “soft” ones such as markets or the crowd that was hit in Friday’s bombing.
The latest attack killed more people than any other since a bombing at a market in Peshawar left some 120 people dead on 28 October.
Dozens of people were reported to be injured in Friday’s attack. Several buildings collapsed, trapping people under rubble.
“The villagers were watching the match between the two village teams when the bomber rashly drove his double-cabin pick-up vehicle into them and blew it up,” district police chief Ayub Khan told AFP news agency.
“Every day there are volleyball matches taking place,” said one man who was injured in the explosion.
“Today, all the people had gathered together watching, when suddenly a [Mitsubishi] Pajero came in the middle of the field and blew up.”
Mr Khan told reporters the attack may have been retaliation for attempts by locals to expel militants.
“The locality has been a hub of militants,” he said.
“Locals set up a militia and expelled the militants from this area. This attack seems to be a reaction to their expulsion.”
The BBC’s Aleem Maqbool reports from Islamabad that among those killed are believed to be members of a local peace committee who have been campaigning for an end to the violence.
Mushtaq Marwat, a member of the group, told Pakistan’s Geo TV that the attack occurred as the committee was meeting in a nearby mosque.
“Suddenly there was a huge blast. We went out and saw bodies and injured people everywhere,” he said.
Other people recalled seeing a bright flash before hearing an ear-piercing explosion.
One witness said that later, people were using vehicle headlights to search for victims in the dark.
Khalid Israr, a senior regional official, told Reuters news agency that the military had been deployed to help local authorities.
“It is a small village with very few rescue facilities. Rescue equipment is being sent there from other places.”
North and South Waziristan form a lethal militant belt from where insurgents have launched attacks across north-west Pakistan as well as into parts of eastern Afghanistan.
Our correspondent says it had been feared that while the army was congratulating itself on its campaign, militants had simply escaped to neighbouring areas such as the one where Friday’s attack happened.
The attack came as a general strike was held in Karachi, Pakistan’s commercial capital, in protest against a bombing there on Monday and riots that followed.
The bombing, which killed at least 43 people, targeted a Shia Muslim march and was claimed by the Taliban.bbc, Voice of a Nation