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Central & South Asia
Bombers hit two Pakistan mosques
At least two people are killed and 38 injured in attacks in Lahore and Nowshera.
Last Modified: 12 Jun 2009 15:07 GMT

A Pakistani bomb disposal officer uses a metal detector in the Jamia Naeemia religious school [AFP]
 

At least two people have been killed in near-simultaneous blasts in Pakistan, officials say.

One blast took place inside the offices of the Jamia Naeemia religious school and mosque in the eastern city of Lahore soon after Friday prayers, police said.

The second, a few minutes later, was a car bomb in the city of Nowshera in the northwest of the country.

A spokesman for Hakimullah Mehsud, a local tribal Taliban chief, said that the Pakistani Taliban carried out the attacks.

Mehsud said that more attacks would be carried out if security forces did not stop their attacks against the Taliban.

One of those killed in Lahore when a lone suicide bomber entered the school was a prominent religious leader known to oppose the Taliban, police said.

"Unfortunately, Maulana Sarfraz Naeemi has been martyred," Pervez Rathore, a Lahore police chief, told the Reuters news agency.

Another person was killed and at least six others hurt in the attack.

Nowshera blast

The second blast took place at a mosque in Nowshera, in North West Frontier Province (NWFP), about 100km from the capital, Islamabad.

Naeemi had received death threats for some time [AFP]
Thirty-two people were wounded in the car-bomb attack, Abdullah Khan, the local police chief, said.

Some of the victims may have died on the way to hospital, he added.

Kamal Hyder, Al Jazeera's correspondent in Islamabad, said the mosque in Nowshera was in a military area.

"The military pray side-by-side with the locals there, and many more casualties are expected.

"With the Pakistani military about to embark on another offensive against the Taliban, strategic and military thinkers are saying there will be more large-scale attacks across the country," he said.

In recent weeks, Naeemi headed several meetings of religious leaders to denounce Taliban fighters for carrying out suicide blasts, and voiced support for the military operation taking place in Swat.

Naeemi recently passed a religious ruling (fatwa) saying suicide bombings were forbidden. He had been receiving death threats for some time, Al Jazeera's correspondent reported.

Waqar Naeemi, his son, said he was critically wounded in the Lahore blast and later died in hospital.

At least two people died on Thursday in a gun battle between security forces and armed men in the outskirts of Peshawar, the capital of NWFP.

The fighting occurred near the Pearl Continental hotel, which was hit by a suicide bomber on Tuesday.

Source:
Al Jazeera and agencies
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