Peshawar, Dec 8: At least 17 people were killed and 32 others wounded when a teenage Taliban suicide bomber today struck a crowded bus terminal at Kohat in Pakistan's restive northwest, the latest in a string of deadly terrorist attacks in the country.
The attacker, aged between 17 and 20 years, blew himself up close to a bus in the terminal located near the busy Tirah Bazar in Kohat, some 60 km from Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa capital Peshawar.
Police officials said 14 people were killed instantly while three others died in hospital. Thirty-two people, including several women, were injured. The attack occurred on the first day of the Islamic holy month of Muharram.
Authorities have put in place strict security arrangements across Pakistan as sectarian and militant violence has occurred during the month in past years.
The proscribed Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan accepted responsibility for the attack.
Deputy Inspector General of Police Masood Afridi said the bomber targeted a bus.
"It was a suicide blast and we have found the head and legs of the bomber," Kohat district police chief Dilawar Khan Bangash said.
Other officials said several of the injured were in a serious condition. Witnesses said they had seen human flesh and bodies lying at the site of the blast.
The bomber struck at about 1 pm, when the bus terminal was crowded with people travelling to the adjoining Kurram and Orakzai tribal regions.
Most of the dead and injured belong to Orakzai Agency.
The blast destroyed the bus targeted by the bomber and damaged several other vehicles. The bodies and injured were rushed to two nearby hospitals.
Authorities declared an emergency at all hospitals in Kohat and staff and doctors were recalled for duty.
This was the second suicide attack in northwest Pakistan in three days.
On Monday, 50 people were killed and over 100 others injured when two Taliban suicide bombers disguised as policemen struck a government compound in Mohmand tribal region. Taliban claimed responsibility for that attack too.
Khyber-Pakthunkhwa Governor Owais Ahmed Ghani and Chief Minister Ameer Haider Khan Hoti condemned the attack, describing it as a cowardly act of terrorism.
Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani too condemned the attack, saying it was carried out "by a group of fanatics who have no regard for any religion or creed".
Gilani reiterated his government's resolve to fight "against these elements till their complete elimination". PTI