Pakistan: Islamist militants blow up mosque

A mosque and adjoining shrines were destroyed in an explosion at Ashkail village in the Khyber tribal region’s Landi Kotal tehsil (district), near the Afghan border in Pakistan’s Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) on July 15. The Ishkhel mosque was 100 years old, and the adjacent shrines were older, some holding the remains of Sufi saints. There were no casualties, but hours later a bomb blast tore through a crowded market at Meharban Kaley in the Khyber Agency’s Tiraah Valley, killing 10, including three children, and injuring 20. Five people were also killed and 55 others wounded that same day when a suicide blast ripped through a busy bus stand in Mingora Swat, North-West Frontier Province (NWFP), where local residents were celebrating an Aman Mela (Peace Festival) to promote reconciliation efforts.

A local commander of the militant group Lashkar-e-Islam was among those killed in the Meharban Kaley market blast, residents said, adding that six among those injured belonged to the same group. “The timed device appeared to have been planted by a rival militia,” a resident told Pakistan’s Daily Times by phone. (Daily Times, July 17; Pakistan Observer, Dawn, CRWE Newswire, July 16; Xinhua, July 15)

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