[QODLink]
Central & South Asia

Mass funerals in Pakistan after Taliban raid

Prayers held in town of Bannu for solders killed in attack on army post in country's northwest in which 35 people died.
Last Modified: 03 Feb 2013 07:21

Funeral prayers have been held in the northwestern Pakistani town of Bannu for nine solders killed in an attack at an army post that killed at least 35 people.

Taliban fighters wearing suicide vests fired automatic weapons and rocket-propelled grenades at the base in Serai Naurang in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province in a pre-dawn raid on Saturday, officials said. At least 10 civilians and 12 fighters were among the dead.

The Pakistani Taliban claimed responsibility for Saturday's attack. Spokesman Ahsanullah Ahsan told The Associated Press that the attack was in retaliation for the recent deaths of two Taliban commanders in US drone strikes.

He accused the Pakistani army of helping with the attacks.

Pakistani officials often criticise drone operations as a violation of the country's sovereignty, but are known to have assisted some US strikes in the past.

A police official, speaking on condition of anonymity because he was not authorised to brief the media, said he saw the bodies of three attackers with their suicide vests intact.

The raid came a day after a suicide bombing at a Shia mosque elsewhere in the northwest that killed 24 people, police said. The blast at the mosque was the latest in a rising number of sectarian attacks in the country.

The Pakistani Taliban also claimed responsibility for that attack. 

The Taliban and allied armed groups have stepped up the pace of attacks in Pakistan in recent months, an indication of their strength despite numerous army operations against their strongholds in the northwest.

250

Source:
Al Jazeera and agencies
Topics in this article
People
Country
City
Organisation
Featured on Al Jazeera
Muslim volunteers face questioning and threat of arrest, while aid has been disrupted or blocked, charities say.
Six months on, outrage and sorrow over the mass schoolgirl abduction has disappeared - except for families in Nigeria.
ISIL combatants seeking an 'exit strategy' from Mideast conflict need positive reinforcement back home, analysts say.
European nation hit by a wave of Islamophobia as many young fighters join ISIL in Syria and Iraq.
Featured
Lack of child protection laws means abandoned and orphaned kids rely heavily on the care of strangers.
At least 25 tax collectors have been killed since 2012 in Mogadishu, a city awash in weapons and abject poverty.
Since she was 16-years-old, Scottish Nationalist Party's Sturgeon has strove for independence from the UK.
Armed group's ransom success with German hostages marks a re-emergence, as authorities investigate ISIL links.
Western nations are moving into the resource-rich country after decades of disinterest, challenging China's interests.