LA TIMES: A suicide bomber dressed in an all-enveloping burqa struck a crowded food distribution center in Pakistan’s volatile tribal region Saturday, killing at least 42 people and injuring more than 60 others, officials said.
The attack in the town of Khar, the administrative center of the Bajaur tribal area, came amid ongoing fighting between Pakistan security forces and insurgents in the region bordering Afghanistan. A major clash in the neighboring Mohmand tribal area about 24 hours earlier had left 11 troops and about two dozen militants dead.
With as many as 1,000 people lined up in the morning chill, awaiting food aid, the attacker first hurled grenades into the crowd, then detonated explosives that were worn or carried. Hours afterward, officials were still trying to determine whether the bomber was a woman, or a man disguised as one.
Witnesses described a horrific aftermath, with mangled bodies and bloodied clothing scattered widely and wounded people crying out for help. The most critically injured were taken to hospitals in Peshawar, the nearest large city, and officials said the death toll could rise.
Most of those at the distribution center were impoverished refugees who had been displaced by fighting between Taliban militants and the security forces in Bajaur and elsewhere along the border with Afghanistan. More than 300,000 people have been driven from their homes by a military push against the insurgents that began in 2008.