Peshawar – At least 16 people have been killed and 35 others wounded after a suicide bomber blew himself during a Friday prayers at a mosque in a northwestern Pakistani tribal area, officials said.
The bombing took place in Butmaina village, Mohmand tribal district bordering Afghanistan where the army has been fighting against Taliban militants.
According to a senior tribal administration official “The Friday prayer was in progress at the mosque when a suicide bomber blew himself up in the main room killing at least 16 worshippers and wounding 35 others.
He added that, curfew had since been imposed in the area.
Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, in a press statement condemned the act and said, “The cowardly attacks by terrorists cannot shatter the government’s resolve to eliminate terrorism from the country.”
News24 reports that, there was no immediate claim of responsibility, but the Pakistani Taliban routinely attack soft targets such as courts, schools and mosques.
On September 2, at least 14 people were killed and more than 50 wounded after a suicide bomber attacked a court in the Pakistani city of Mardan in an assault targeting Pakistan’s legal community that was claimed by the Jamaat-ul-Ahrar Taliban faction.
The group has also said it was behind an attack on lawyers in southwest Quetta, which killed 73 people on August 8, as well as the Lahore Easter bombing that killed 75 in Pakistan’s deadliest attack this year.
Pakistan’s deadliest ever attack occurred in Peshawar in December 2014, when Taliban militants stormed a school killing more than 150 people, mostly children.
The army launched an operation in June 2014 in a bid to wipe out militant bases in the northwestern tribal areas and so bring an end to the bloody insurgency that has cost thousands of civilian lives since 2004.
Security in the country has since improved. Scattered attacks still take place, but they are fewer and of a lesser intensity than in previous years.
According to data from the South Asia Terrorism Portal, 457 civilians and 182 security forces were killed in Pakistan from January 1 to September 11, putting 2016 on course for fewer casualties than 2015.
Last year, the country recorded its lowest number of killings since 2007, when the Pakistani Taliban was formed.