AFP, ALJAZEERA (Qatar), PAK TRIBUNE (Pakistan), REUTERS, ZEE NEWS (India)
KURRUM - The death toll from a bombing at a political rally near the Pakistan-Afghanistan border has increased to at least 25 as of Tuesday morning, making it the deadliest attack to date on the current national election campaign, says the AFP.
The explosion occurred when a device detonated at a rally for two Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) candidates, who, according to Aljazeera, escaped unhurt. An estimated 70 people were injured in the blast, writes India’s Zee News.
Dr. Inayatullah Khan, the administrator of a nearby hospital, said 20 bodies and 65 injured were brought to the hospital, quotes the Pak Tribune. He said some tribesmen took bodies of their relatives to their villages instead of bringing them to the hospital.
The Pakistani Taliban has claimed responsibility for the bombing, reports the Tribune, saying that the target was one of the candidates who supported operations against the militants. The group added that party activists were not targets.
Since April, reports Reuters, the group has killed more than 70 people in attacks targeting three major political parties, preventing many candidates from openly campaigning.
This has been the first deadly attack on a political party in this region since campaigning began for what will be the country’s first democratic transition of power after a civilian government has completed a full term of office. Elections are due to be held May 11.