Suicide bombers claim dozens of lives in Pakistan

A
pair of suicide bombers attacked a large gathering of anti- Taliban elders inside a government compound
in northwest Pakistan killing at least 50 people in one
of the worst terror strikes to hit the country’s volatile tribal belt this
year.

The
attack occurred in the town of Ghalanai at the administrative headquarters of
Mohmand, a region along the Afghan border that continues to see periodic
clashes between Taliban militants and Pakistani troops. A meeting was underway
at the compound between leaders of a local anti-Taliban militia and a top
Mohmand official, authorities said.

Witnesses
said more than 300 people were inside the building when the two attackers
appeared.

 One of the bombers was dressed in a police
uniform and was able to walk into the offices where the crowd had gathered. A
second bomber was stopped at a perimeter security gate. Both men detonated
their explosives seconds apart.

Officials
in Mohmand said the compound had metal detectors at its entrance but that they
were not functioning at the time because of a power outage. Television footage
showed sections of the compound reduced to rubble.

Mohmand
is one of several tribal regions along the Afghan border where Taliban and Al
Qaeda militants maintain hideouts.

 The Pakistani military has launched offensives
in several parts of northwest Pakistan — including the Swat Valley, South Waziristan,
Bajaur, Orakzai and Khyber — in hopes of ending the wave of Taliban-engineered
suicide bomb attacks and other terror acts that have ravaged the country in
recent years.

Despite
the offensives, the insurgency’s top leaders remain active. Many militants were
able to flee the military operations well in advance and find sanctuary
elsewhere in the tribal belt.

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