Ex-MNA among 26 killed in Wana blast
* Maulana Noor Muhammad was delivering sermon in a mosque when a suicide bomber struck
* 40 injured in attack
* No group has claimed responsibility
By Hafizullah Wazir
WANA: A suicide bomber blew himself up inside a mosque in Wana on Monday killing 26 people, including a former member of the National Assembly.
Pro-government cleric Maulana Noor Muhammad was delivering a sermon in the area’s biggest mosque when the attack occurred.
“Maulvi Noor Muhammad was among the 26 killed in the suicide attack inside his madrassa adjacent to his mosque,” Wana assistant political agent, Jamal Azmat told Daily Times.
Syed Noor, a nephew of the cleric, confirmed that his uncle had been killed.
Eyewitnesses said the suicide bomber blew himself up as Noor finished preaching at 3pm inside the mosque, killing 26 people and injuring over 40 others.
Jamal said an emergency had been declared in all hospitals of Wana, where 40 wounded were being treated. “Some of the wounded people are in critical condition,” he said.
A health official in a paramilitary hospital in Wana also said the condition of most of the wounded was critical.
The mosque was badly damaged in the blast, where local residents were busy trying to recover people from the rubble amid fears that the death toll could rise further.
No group has claimed responsibility for the attack so far. However, ‘foreign elements’ who were earlier forced out of the area are believed to be behind the attack.
Noor was opposed to the presence of Uzbek militants and had provided support to dislodge them.
Slain Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan leader Baitullah Mehsud had allowed the “displaced Uzbek militants” to stay in Mehsud areas, which triggered a strong reaction from the tribesmen from the Ahmedzai Wazir areas.
The former MNA had also played his role in brokering a peace deal in the past. The cleric was associated with the Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazal.