Miracle as guests survive Pakistan suicide bomb

A teenage suicide bomber blew himself up at a gathering a northwestern Pakistani town on Thursday, but guests escaped unhurt in the attack in a Taliban-troubled district, police said.

Senior police official Mohammad Ayub told Agence France-Presse it was a “miracle” that no one was wounded or killed in the bombing in Essakkhel village in Bannu district, which borders the Taliban strongholds of North and South Waziristan.

“A young boy aged 13 or 14 blew himself up in the middle of guests who were visiting the house of a local political leader to congratulate him on performing the hajj,” Ayub said.

“It was just a miracle that nobody was hurt in the attack,” he said.

The boy was killed by his suicide vest, but police said it was possible that not all the explosives detonated, while a hand grenade the bomber was carrying was also defused at the scene.

Pakistani troops this year launched multiple operations against Islamist extremists across the northwest tribal belt, and militants have responded with a fierce and deadly bombing campaign across the country.

More than 2 700 people have been killed in militant strikes in Pakistan since July 2007, with October and November this year seeing a surge in suicide bombings targeting civilians in major cities.

Suicide bombings are frequently carried out by young teenagers, who the military allege are brainwashed by militants. — AFP

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