Suicide bomber kills at least 34 at Pakistan funeral

Reuters News
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Posted: Mar 18, 2011 4:50 PM
Suicide bomber kills at least 34 at Pakistan funeral

By Faris Ali

PESHAWAR, Pakistan (Reuters) - A suicide bomber attacked a funeral procession near the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar on Wednesday killing at least people in the latest in a string of Islamist militant attacks aimed at undermining Pakistan's U.S.-backed government.

The funeral was for the relative of a pro-government, ethnic Pashtun tribal elder, Peshawar's top administrator, Siraj Ahmed, told Reuters.

The attacker mingled with the mourners before setting off his explosives, Ahmed said.

"People had gathered and had just started praying when a boy walked in and blew himself up," survivor Mohammad Eman told Geo television.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility.

Bloodied shoes and caps littered the ground where the attack took place, on the outskirts of the city, as stunned survivors milled around or bundled the wounded into trucks and away to hospital, television images showed.

The Pashtun elder whose relative was being buried on Wednesday is involved with a pro-government militia force. It was not immediately clear if he had been killed or wounded in the explosion.

The attack came a day after militants set off a car-bomb at a natural gas filling station in the central city of Faisalabad killing 25 people and wounding about 125.

Pakistani Taliban fighting to bring down the U.S.-backed government claimed responsibility for that attack.

Pakistan has seen a wave of bombs in the past three years, many in the northwest near the border with Afghanistan, where the military is battling al Qaeda-linked Pakistani Taliban insurgents.

The army says that several military offensives have weakened the militants but bomb attacks are still common.

(Additional reporting by Zeeshan Haider; Editing by Chris Allbritton and Miral Fahmy)