Suicide attack at funeral kills at least 14 in Pakistan

Relatives shift an injured suicide attack victim outside a hospital near Peshawar, Pakistan on March 11, 2012.

Story highlights

  • The suicide bomber blows himself up as mourners are leaving, police say
  • An Awami National Party official attends the funeral for a local woman
  • Authorities believe the target may have been Awami National Party members
  • No one immediately claims responsibility

A suicide bomber targeted a funeral in northwest Pakistan on Sunday, killing at least 14 people and wounding 37 others, officials said.

The blast took place just outside Peshawar, the capital of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, said city police official Kalam Khan.

While no one immediately claimed responsibility for the attack, authorities believe the target may have been members of the Awami National Party.

Khushdil Khan, a party member who is the deputy speaker of the provincial assembly, had gone to the funeral for a local woman. But he left before the suicide bomber walked up to mourners and blew himself up as they were leaving, police said

The Awami National Party, which is part of the governing coalition led by Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani's Pakistan Peoples Party, is often targeted by the Taliban.

In February, an explosion outside a political rally in northwest Pakistan killed five people and wounded 10, officials said.

The Tehrik-e-Taliban, or Pakistani Taliban, claimed responsibility for the blast.

"We carried out the attack," said Asim Mehsud, the Taliban spokesman for Pakistan's South Waziristan region. "We will also target upcoming rallies of the Awami National Party, as it is a secular party. We will also target any other rallies conducted by secular political parties in the future."

In November, party member Hanif Jadoon and his bodyguard were killed in a suicide attack.

Jadoon had just finished morning prayers on the Islamic holiday of Eid al-Adha when a bomber approached his car and detonated his explosives.

The attack took place in the Swabi district of the province, about 80 kilometers (50 miles) west of Islamabad.