Suicide bomber kills at least 25 in Pakistan mosque

A splinter group of the Pakistani Taliban, Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan Jamaat-ur-Ahrar (TTP-JA), has claimed responsibility for the attack.

At least 25 people were killed and 30 wounded in a suicide bombing at a packed mosque in northwestern Pakistan on Friday, officials said.

The bombing took place during the Friday prayers in the village of Payee Khan, in the Mohmand Agency region of the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (Fata) bordering Afghanistan.

"The suicide bomber was in a crowded mosque, he shouted 'Allahu akbar' (God is greatest) and then there was a huge blast," Naveed Akbar, deputy administrator of Mohmand Agency, told Reuters.

"A portion of the mosque and veranda collapsed in the blast and fell on worshippers. We are still retrieving bodies and the injured from the rubble of the mosque building," he added.

Another local government official confirmed the incident and said, "the area is remote and, so far, I have received only this information from our sources via wireless."

A splinter group of the Pakistani Taliban, Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan Jamaat-ur-Ahrar (TTP-JA), claimed responsibility for the attack.

The group said it was a revenge attack on the village tribesmen for launching an assault on its forces and capturing militants and handing them over to the government.

Haji Subhanullah Mohmand, a local tribal said local tribesmen gathered a volunteer force and killed one insurgent. They managed to capture another.

"It seems to have enraged the militants and they got their revenge by carrying out a suicide attack in a mosque today," Mohmand said.

The frontier regions of Pakistan have been the sanctuary of fighters from al Qaeda, the Taliban and other militant groups from a long time. These regions are also hard to access due to rough terrain which has been advantageous for the groups.

Earlier this month, a suicide bomber attacked a court in Mardan and killed 14 people, while in August another suicide bomb attack killed 73 people, half of which were lawyers.

Recently, the legal community of Pakistan has been targeted by the militant groups several times.