Pakistan suicide death toll climbs to 43

December 7, 2010 12:00 am

, Pakistan, Dec 7 – The death toll from twin suicide bombings in Pakistan\’s tribal district bordering Afghanistan has risen to 43, an official said Tuesday.

"Three more people died in Peshawar hospital. The death toll has now reached 43," Miraj Khan, a senior administrative official in the town of Ghalanai, told AFP.

Two suicide bombers dressed in police uniform attacked a meeting of anti-Taliban militiamen and pro-government elders in Ghalanai, about 175 kilometres (110 miles) northwest of Islamabad.

Most of the victims have been identified and their bodies handed over to relatives, but eight badly mutilated bodies are still in Ghalani hospital, Khan said.

"They are beyond recognition," he said.

More than 100 people were believed to have been in a compound where government officials, allied tribal elders and members of the local anti-Taliban militia were meeting when the bombers struck.

A purported spokesman for the Pakistani Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack, threatening death to anyone who forms militias against the Islamists.

Pakistan has long armed and supported tribesmen in a strategy designed to protect local communities from Taliban encroachment across the northwest.

Around 4,000 people have died in suicide and bomb attacks across Pakistan since government forces raided an extremist mosque in Islamabad in 2007. The attacks have been blamed on networks linked to the Taliban and Al-Qaeda.



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