A Taliban suicide bomber killed 12 Pakistanis and wounded 28 more in an attack at a mosque in the northwestern district of Dir.
The suicide bomber detonated at a mosque frequented by police in the main town of Timergara. The attack took place as people gathered at the mosque for Friday prayers.
Two children were reported to be among those killed. The mosque was heavily damaged in the suicide attack.
The Taliban maintain a strong presence in Lower Dir despite the military operation launched there in late April to oust them. Sufi Mohammed, the leader of the radical, pro-Taliban Tehrik-e-Nifaz-e-Shariat-e-Mohammed [TNSM, or the Movement for the Enforcement of Mohammed’s Law], was based in Madain in Dir before he was arrested last summer. Sufi engineered the notorious Malakand Accord, the agreement with the government that ceded vast areas of northwestern Pakistan to the Taliban.
Today’s attack is the latest in the Taliban’s terror campaign, which was ramped up after Hakeemullah Mehsud’s announcement that he would avenge the death of his predecessor Baitullah Mehsud at the hands of the US. Hakeemullah also demanded the military end its operations in the tribal areas and the wider northwest.
The Taliban have had no reservations about striking inside mosques and other religious sites. There have been 20 such attacks in mosques and other Islamic institutions in Pakistan since December 2007, according to information compiled by The Long War Journal.
The last such attack took place on Dec. 4, when a suicide assault team stormed a mosque frequented by military officers in Rawalpindi. Two senior generals were among the 40 people killed.
Major attacks at mosques, religious events, and Islamic institutions in Pakistan since December 2007:
Dec. 18, 2009: A suicide detonated inside a mosque frequented by policemen in Lower Dir, killing 12.
Dec. 4, 2009: A suicide assault team stormed a mosque in Rawalpindi that is frequented by Army officers, killing 40.
Oct. 20, 2009: A pair of suicide bombers detonated their vests at Islamabad’s International Islamic University, killing five.
June 12, 2009: A suicide bomber killed five Pakistanis, including anti-Taliban cleric Dr. Sarfraz Naeemi, in an attack on a mosque in Lahore during Friday prayers.
June 12, 2009: A suicide bomber killed six worshipers and wounded more than 90 in an attack inside a mosque in Nowshera. The attack collapsed the dome of the mosque.
June 5, 2009: A suicide bomber killed 49 worshipers in an attack on a mosque in a remote village in Dir.
April 5, 2009: A suicide bomber killed 24 worshipers and wounded more than 100 in an attack outside a Shia religious center in the Chakwal district in Punjab province.
March 27, 2009: A Taliban suicide bomber killed more than 70 worshipers and wounded more than 125 in an attack at a mosque in the Khyber tribal agency.
March 5, 2009: An attacker threw a hand grenade into the middle of a mosque in Dera Ismail Khan, wounding 25 worshipers.
March 2, 2009: A suicide bomber killed six people during an attack at a gathering in a mosque in the Pishin district in Baluchistan.
Feb. 20, 2008: A suicide bomber killed 32 Pakistanis and wounded more than 85 in an attack on a funeral procession for a Shia elder who was murdered in Dera Ismail Khan.
Feb. 5, 2009: A suicide attack outside a mosque killed more than 30 Shia worshipers and wounded more than 50.
Nov. 22, 2008: A bombing at a mosque in Hangu killed five civilians and wounded seven.
Nov. 21, 2008: A suicide attack on a funeral procession in Dera Ismail Khan killed 10 mourners and wounded more than 25.
Sept. 10, 2008: The Taliban attacked a mosque filled with Ramadan worshipers in the district of Dir in northwestern Pakistan. More than 25 worshipers were killed and more than 50 were wounded.
Aug. 19, 2008: A suicide bomber killed 29 Shia mourners and wounded 35 after detonating in the emergency ward of a hospital.
June 17, 2008: Four Pakistanis were killed and three wounded in a bombing at a Shia mosque in Dera Ismail Khan.
May 19, 2008: Four Pakistanis were killed in a bombing outside a mosque in Bajaur.
Jan. 17, 2008: A suicide bomber killed 10 and wounded 25 in an attack on a Shia mosque in Peshawar.
Dec. 28, 2007: A suicide bomber detonated in the middle of a mosque in Charsadda in an attempt to kill former Interior Minister Aftab Sherpao as he conducted Eid prayers. More than 50 were killed and more than 200 were wounded.
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