30 dead in Pakistan car bombing
Thirty people, including two policemen and five children, were killed and over 15 others injured today when a suicide bomber drove his explosive-laden car into a group of voters outside a polling station during a by-election in northwestern Pakistan.
The bomber struck at a polling booth in a government-run school in Buner district of North West Frontier Province, destroying the school building and damaging several nearby houses, police said.
Officials said two policemen, five children and a political activist were among the dead. The blast destroyed the school building and damaged several nearby houses. Polling was stopped at 11 stations after the attack.
The officials said the toll could rise as people were feared to be trapped in the debris of the school building and as some of the injured were in a critical condition.
Polling for a seat in the National Assembly or lower house of parliament was going on when the attack occurred. The by-election was necessitated by the death of parliamentarian Abdul Mateen Khan.
The blast occurred about 90 minutes after polling started. There were also reports that some armed men hiding in hills around the polling station opened fire at voters who had gathered there.
The Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan claimed responsibility for the attack, saying it was carried out in retaliation for the killing of six militants in the same region.
Earlier, the same area witnessed clashes between supporters of two rival political parties that left five persons injured.
President Asif Ali Zardari and Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani condemned the attack and directed law enforcement agencies to apprehend those responsible for the strike so that they could be awarded "exemplary punishment".