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Pakistan mosque attack death toll climbs

By the CNN Wire Staff
Local residents carry the body of a blast victim after Friday's suicide bomb attack.
Local residents carry the body of a blast victim after Friday's suicide bomb attack.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • NEW: Security forces kill 10 militants and destroy some hideouts
  • A Taliban group claims responsibility, saying the mosque bombing was a reprisal attack
  • The villagers had formed a resistance movement against the Taliban, the group says
  • Khyber Agency is a volatile tribal region bordering Afghanistan
RELATED TOPICS
  • Pakistan

Islamabad, Pakistan (CNN) -- The death toll in a Pakistani mosque attack has risen to at least 51, a local government official said Saturday, a day after the bombing during prayers.

The attack on a mosque in the village of Ghondi inPakistan's Khyber Agency also injured 121, Muthar Zab said.

A separate attack on a Pakistani security convoy, also in the Khyber district, left two security officers dead and six wounded Saturday, two intelligence officials told CNN.

The attackers opened fire as the convoy travelled through the Aka Khel region, they said.

In response, security forces killed 10 militants and injured five during a search operation in Khyber, intelligence officials told CNN. They also destroyed three militant hideouts in the area where the convoy was attacked.

The bombing during Friday prayers in Ghondi was a reprisal attack for local resistance against the Taliban, a spokesman for the Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan group said in a statement.

Spokesman Mohammad Talha said the villagers' resistance movement had killed two Taliban fighters that week and destroyed three Taliban hideouts in the area.

About 300 people were at the mosque when the blast went off, officials said.

Khyber Agency is one of the seven districts of northwestern Pakistan's volatile tribal region bordering war-torn Afghanistan and has seen many casualties in recent years.

Khalid Kundi, a senior Khyber official, said the bomber blew himself up in the courtyard of the mosque with 8 to 10 kilograms of explosive material.

One worshipper said the blast was so loud, he passed out.

"When I stood up, I saw dead bodies and injured people everywhere," Hikmat Ullah Afridi said.

CNN's Shaan Khan contributed to this report.

 
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