Militancy strikes: Blast near DVD shop, mosque kills 10 in Orakzai
HANGU: Ten people were killed and another 26 were wounded on Friday when a bomb exploded near a shop selling DVDs in the lower Orakzai Agency – an area that the military claims to have cleared of Taliban fighters.
The attack happened in Kalaya, the main town of Orakzai Agency where the military has been battling Taliban and al Qaeda linked militants for years. Following the attack, nine militants were killed after jets bombed their hideout, a military official said.
“The blast killed at least 10 people and wounded another 26,” said Assistant Political Agent (APA) Fazal Qadir, revising an earlier death toll of eight.
The bomb targeted people from the pro-government Ferozkhel tribe, who have shops in the market, he said. Qadir told The Express Tribune that a huge explosion was heard near a neighbourhood mosque, adding that six people were killed on the spot.
The site where the explosion occurred is around 300 yards from the offices of the security forces and political administration. The political agent said initial investigations revealed that a remote-controlled bomb had been planted in a shop close to the DVD shop. Six shops in the surrounding area were damaged as well.
An emergency was declared in the Kalaya headquarters hospital. A journalist and a paramilitary fighter from the Khasadar were among the dead, Qadir added.
A Levies official said the blast occurred in a shop owned by Adam Khan after prayers in Jamia Masjid Markaz.
“Most of the bodies were mutilated and beyond identification,” the official said, adding that security forces and Levies forces collected evidence from the scene, which revealed that around six kilogrammes of explosives were used.
“There was thick smoke with body parts scattered everywhere,” said a witness, Mirwaiz Khan. DCO Mehmood Aslam said that the bomb was planted near the DVD and mobile shop surrounded by small kiosks selling tea and snacks. There was no immediate claim of responsibility, he added.
“Most of the dead and injured were returning from Friday prayers at a mosque,” Aslam added. Unlike the six other tribal areas, Orakzai doesn’t share a border with Afghanistan.
Security forces launched a major operation in Orakzai in March 2010 to push out insurgents fleeing a military offensive in the nearby South Waziristan Agency on the Afghan border. Orakzai was previously seen as a stronghold of Tehreek-e-Taliban chief Hakimullah Mehsud.
The military says several hundred Taliban fighters have been killed in Orakzai since 2010 and the area is under control. But despite losses, the militants have since carried out several bomb and gun attacks in the area.