A teenaged suicide bomber in school uniform attacked a military training centre in Pakistan’s northwest on Thursday, killing 27 people, most of them soldiers, and injuring at least 40.
The attacker, said to be around 14, walked into Punjab regiment headquarters’ parade ground in Mardan, 115km north-west of Islamabad, and blew himself up as army recruits were lining up for the morning parade, officials and eyewitnesses said. An attack on the same facility killed more than 30 soldiers in 2006.
“The attacker from a civilian school near the academy was wearing a suicide jacket and carrying a school bag,” said police officer Abdullah Khan. Soldiers in bullet-proof jackets and helmets cordoned off the blast scene standing alert on jeeps mounted with machine guns to prevent access to the site.
Pakistani Taliban spokesman Azam Tariq claimed responsibility for the attack and said it was carried out to avenge American drone strikes and Pakistani military operations in the country’s tribal areas. “We would continue to carry out attacks on those who protect the Americans.”
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