Black Friday: Bomber targets worshippers at Jamrud mosque

Published: August 20, 2011

Local residents clean the mosque after the suicide attack in Jamrud. PHOTO: AFP

Initial reports from the area state up to 40 people were killed when blast took place during Friday prayers. PHOTO: EXPRESS/FILE Local residents clean the mosque after the suicide attack in Jamrud. PHOTO: AFP
PESHAWAR: 

A teenage suicide bomber struck at a crowded mosque while worshippers were offering Friday prayers in the Jamrud tehsil of Khyber Agency, killing 48 people and maiming many more.

It was the deadliest terror attack in Pakistan in three months.

No one claimed responsibility for the attack in Jama Masjid Mandokhel in Ghundi area of the Jamrud tehsil, but officials suspected the banned Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP).

(Read: Suicide blast in Jamrud mosque: 56 killed, 123 injured)

“It was a suicide attack. The teenage bomber was wearing about 8-10 kilogrammes of explosives and was on foot. He struck in the main prayer hall,” Mumtaz Kundi, Assistant Political Agent of Jamrud tehil, told The Express Tribune. He added that the head and severed legs of the bomber have been recovered from the scene.

More than 500 people had packed into the mosque and a senior official Sayed Ahmed Jan told AFP that the bomb had exploded seconds after the prayers ended. Local sources put the death toll at 60 dead and over 130 injured.

But Political Agent of Khyber Agency Mutahir Zeb differed.

“The death toll has now risen to 48,” he told Reuters. He added that the injured had been taken to hospitals in Peshawar while a bomb disposal squad was at the scene, adding that those killed in the attack included four boys younger than nine years of age.

“Many of the wounded succumbed to their injuries, adding to the toll that may rise further as there are still people in critical condition,” Zeb added.

The mosque is located in an area inhabited by Mandokhel tribe, a sub clan of Kokikhel Afridis, who are opposed to Taliban activity and have been fighting to push them out of their region. “The blast could be a reaction to that,” Zeb said.

Medics at the Khyber Teaching Hospital (KTH) said that they had received 15 bodies and 60 injured persons – eight of them in critical condition.

“The bomber was wearing black clothes and a prayer cap. He detonated the explosives strapped to his body in the third row,” tribesmen Shah Khan, 35, told The Express Tribune at the KTH. Khan himself was standing in the third row when the blast happened.

Another witness Gul Jamal Afridi, 46, a local truck driver said that he had been thrown to the ground by the intensity of the blast. “I saw smoke and fire. People were dying and crying for help, some were running in panic. I saw body parts and human flesh, it was horrible,” he said.

Iftikhar Khan, an official at the Hayatabad Medical Complex in Peshawar, told AFP that 40 wounded people had been rushed there alone.

Student Saqibullah, 24, said he had tried to help those lying near him after the bomb went off, but found most were already dead. “I saw my uncle lying in a pool of blood. I ran towards him and picked him up to carry on my back, but he had already died,” he said.

Blood was splattered across the mosque’s main hall and walls, while the building’s doors and windows were destroyed. Its ceiling fans also lay mangled all over the place, according to our reporter at the site. Ball bearings used in the suicide vest were also scattered across the mosque.

Friday’s bomb was the deadliest atrocity since the May 13 attack when two suicide bombers blew themselves up outside a police training centre in Shabqadar tehsil of Charsadda district, about 30 kilometres north of Peshawar killing 98 people.

The killing of al Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden in the May 2 top-secret raid by US commandos had triggered a spate of deadly violence in the country. However, there was brief lull in violence for the last few weeks.

US condemnation

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton condemned the attack. “The attack underscores the brutality of those who would target civilians during a time of celebration and reflection for Muslims,” she said.

(Additional input from Wires)

Published in The Express Tribune, August 20th, 2011.

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Reader Comments (11)

  • If it was the Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan, there is no way they can call themselves an Islam based group any longer.

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  • My name is indian
    Aug 20, 2011 - 7:51AM

    Nobody care of human life in pakistan.

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  • Nadeem Ahmed
    Aug 20, 2011 - 8:02AM

    How come a young boy carrying ten kilos of explosives is not noticed by anyone? When common people will be serious, watch around and take security measures?

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  • Incredible
    Aug 20, 2011 - 8:38AM

    When will Pakistanis wake up and do something then just writing on ET.

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  • Aug 20, 2011 - 9:07AM

    its very bad, we r going backwards day by day….may ALLAH save our country

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  • Aalishaan Afridi
    Aug 20, 2011 - 10:14AM

    its all US activities we can guarantee! In Karachi & Peshawar, the US consulate are doing all this terror. Its same as drone but the way of doing is different. We must stop US…

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  • M WAQAR
    Aug 20, 2011 - 11:18AM

    A suicide bomber struck worshippers during prayers Friday at a mosque in Jumrud.
    This is extremely in human of the Taliban. Killing innocent people in a place where they are offering prayers during the holy month of Ramzan is definitely not Islamic of the Taliban. This act endorses that Taliban never respected religion – Islamic or any other religion. Further, this cowardly act should now open the eyes of the governing authorities in Pakistan govt. that there is nothing like Good Taliban and Bad Taliban. Taliban is only one that believes in destruction – they follow the principle: Live and let others die or kill them. God help Pakistan in realizing the truth and make their lives better from the clutches of such terror outfits.
    Where are hypocrite politicians like imran and nawaz,I don’t see their statements protesting or saying anything about the’ Taliban,they only bark when Drones hits Taliban but they don’t care when Taliban killing innocent people.
    On the other hand if present regime can’t control security situation in the country,then they should resign, these suicide bombers and so called Taliban leaders must be severley punished,Pakistani courts needs to stop releasing these criminals and thugs.Recommend

  • Aamir
    Aug 20, 2011 - 2:30PM

    Afghanistan Iraq Pakistan…the only thing common in their miseries is US..Think about it and their secret agent network which destroyed all bigger Islamic countries. Pakistan is next on their target of destruction. Thanks to their planted TTP.

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  • Malik
    Aug 20, 2011 - 3:24PM

    There is a great Significance of Dying during the Month of Ramadan and that too on a Friday. The punishment is lessened and a mu’min is pardoned for his sins if he dies during
    ramadan, or on a friday (or both).

    In ramadan the gates to jahannam or hell is closed as it is a month of devotion. During ramadan than one can not do evil as their is no devil during ramadan to
    tempt him to do bad things, as such the he remains a good man during whole ramadan. So consequently upon his death he is directly shown the doors of heaven.

    Therefore, If you die during Ramadan that is a good sign because during Ramadan the gates
    of hell are closed and the gates of heaven are opened. Allah knows best though.

    I will find in hadiths for reference.

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  • Shahid Ahmad
    Aug 21, 2011 - 4:50AM

    Unless and until our mullahs declare suicide bombers as kafirs, this madness will continue.

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  • Aug 21, 2011 - 7:31AM

    @Aamir:
    Keep trying to push the blame elsewhere. It’s done you a lot of good so far. Right?

    @Aalishaan Afridi:
    You should put your mental gymnastics to better use. Like trying to comprehend your own inability to judge reality.

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