[This is a highly unusual suicide-bombing, in that the mosque targeted in the attack was Sunni, leading one to think that the bombers were Shia “terrorists.” That is, until the Sunni TTP-offshoot, which is “sympathetic to ISIS”, takes credit for the attack, claiming that the target was another anti-Taliban tribal Lashkar.]
KHAR, Pakistan — A suicide bomber attacked a Sunni mosque in northwest Pakistan on Friday, killing at least 24 worshipers and wounding 28 others, officials said. Several children were also among those killed or wounded in the deadly attack.
A breakaway Taliban group later claimed responsibility for the bombing.
The attacker shouted ‘‘God is Great’’ as he entered the mosque in the village of Ambar in Pakistan’s Mohmand tribal region, government administrator Naveed Akbar said. He said rescuers had transported the dead and wounded to nearby hospitals, where some of the wounded were listed in critical condition.
Akbar said about 200 worshipers were inside the mosque at the time of attack.
Pashin Gul, the head of local tribal police, confirmed that it was a suicide attack. He said the bombing took place during Friday prayers, adding that several of the wounded were in a critical condition.
Ahsanullah Ahsan, a spokesman for Jamaat-ul-Ahrar — the breakaway Taliban faction — claimed responsibility for the attack in a statement to media. He claimed the attacker targeted members of a pro-government militia.
Saeed Khan, in charge of the hospital in the town of Khar, said an army helicopter was being used to transport the critically wounded to Peshawar, the main city in northwestern Pakistan.
One of the wounded, 41-year-old Ghulam Khan, said he heard a deafening explosion during the prayers and then he fell down. ‘‘I cried for help, but no one came to me . . . there were other bodies . . . wounded worshipers, who were reciting verses from Koran and waiting for help,’’ he told the Associated Press from his hospital bed.