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People gather at the site of a suicide bombing in Hangu, Pakistan, Friday, Feb 1, 2013. - Photo by AP
People gather at the site of a suicide bombing in Hangu, Pakistan, Friday, Feb 1, 2013. - Photo by AP

KOHAT: At least 26 people were killed and 56 injured when a suicide bomber detonated explosives outside a Shia mosque in Pat Bazaar area of Hangu district on Friday when people were leaving after offering Friday prayers.

According to a Reuters report from Hangu, a Sunni community mosque is located nearby where anti-Taliban Sunni Supreme Council occasionally holds its meeting. But a senior official said the target of the attack were Shias and some Sunni victims were unintended victims.

DIG of Kohat division Syed Imtiaz Shah said by phone that the toll might increase because many of the injured were in serious condition.

He said the bomber had detonated 7kg of explosives packed in his suicide vest when people were coming out of the mosque.

“We have found the head of the bomber who had come there on a motorcycle,” DPO of Hangu Mian Muhammad Saeed told AFP.

The injured were taken to district headquarters hospital in Hangu and a dozen of them were referred to the KDA Hospital in Kohat and the critically injured to Lady Reading Hospital in Peshawar because the Hangu hospital does not have facilities for major operations.

Most of the deaths occurred when the injured people were being taken to the hospitals.

Police and Frontier Constabulary cordoned off the area and shopkeepers closed shops because of fears of more blasts.

The DIG said police had no warnings about a possible attack in the area where usual security arrangements had been made. But, he added, it was impossible to prevent a suicide attack.

Investigators collected parts of the suicide bomber’s body for DNA tests and other evidences.

An office-bearer of the Imamia Students Organisation said 18 of the dead belonged to the Shia community.

Sources said the suicide bomber had come to Hangu from Orakzai Agency on Thursday. A military operation is in progress in Orakzai Agency since 2010.

The western side of the border between Kurram and Orakzai agencies is a terrorist hub. The Hangu-Kurram highway has remained blocked for three years because of frequent attacks and killing of passengers and drivers of vans and buses.

The highway was reopened to traffic in 2011 after an accord between militants and the government Agencies add:  The bomber detonated explosives in a narrow lane. Pools of blood and pieces of human flesh littered the street after the attack, which also destroyed at least five shops, witnesses said.

“It was a suicide attack which targeted Shias but Sunnis also fell victim since their mosque and some shops were also very close to the site,” DPO Saeed said.