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Bombings at 2 Pakistan mosques kill 10

May 17, 2013|By Zulfiqar Ali and Alex Rodriguez

PESHAWAR, Pakistan -- Bomb blasts tore through two village mosques in northwest Pakistan on Friday, killing at least 10 people and injuring more than 25, local authorities said.

The bombings occurred in the village of Baz Darrah in the Malakand region, a rugged, mountainous area just west of Pakistan’s Swat Valley. The bombs were detonated just as locals had arrived at the mosques for Friday afternoon prayers, said Malakand Deputy Commissioner Amjad Ali.

Investigators were still trying to determine how the bombs were detonated, Ali said. No group had claimed responsibility for the blasts, but suspicion was likely to fall on the Pakistani Taliban, the insurgent group behind hundreds of suicide bombings and terror attacks that have killed thousands of Pakistanis in recent years.

In the past, militants have struck at mosques known to be attended by leaders of anti-Taliban militias, government officials or security personnel. But police have yet to uncover a motive for the Malakand attacks.

Malakand is part of the northwest province of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, which bore the brunt of a wave of pre-election violence that killed more than 100 people and injured hundreds more.

The Pakistani Taliban claimed responsibility for most of those attacks, saying they were targeting the country's secular parties that had espoused an anti-Taliban agenda. Toward the end of the campaign, however, militants also began attacking rallies held by the country’s religious parties, some of which are led by clerics with ties to the Taliban.

Movement for Justice, the party led by former cricket star Imran Khan, won enough seats in the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa provincial assembly election last weekend to be able to craft a coalition government.

The party’s leaders are in talks with Jamaat-i-Islami, an Islamist hard-line party, to form a coalition administration. Both parties are conservative-minded and advocate dialogue with militants instead of military intervention.

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Staff writer Alex Rodriguez reported from Islamabad, Pakistan, and special correspondent Zulfiqar Ali reported from Peshawar, Pakistan.

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