Suicide bombing at volleyball match kills 50 in Pakistan

Suicide bombing at volleyball match kills 50 in PakistanIslamabad, Jan 2 - At least 50 people were killed in a New Year's Day suicide bomb attack in Pakistan's North West Frontier Province (NWFP), with many children feared to be among the victims, police said.

Over 100 people were injured in the attack, which took place at a volleyball match in Shah Hassan Khan village, some 30 km south of Lakki Marwat town.

Mohammad Ayub Khan, the district police chief, said the bomber detonated his explosives-laden car near the sporting field where hundreds of people had gathered to see the match.

Miian Iftikhar Hussain, the information minister in NWFP, said the death toll had risen to 50 as some people succumbed to their injuries.

No one has so far claimed responsibility for the attack.

Residents in Lakki Marwat said the suicide bombing may be retaliation for the local efforts to expel Taliban militants from the district.

"Our people have successfully pushed Taliban out of the area and therefore we were receiving threats from the militants," said Mushtaq Marwat, a member of a local pro-government militia. But he vowed not to be cowed by such "barbarian acts".

Marwat said the bombing also demolished eight houses and three nearby shops.

The district is located near the semi-autonomous tribal district South Waziristan, where Pakistani troops have been conducting a major offensive against Islamist insurgents since mid-October, killing at least 600 extremist militants.

The insurgents have responded with frequent deadly attacks against civilian and official targets, killing around 600 people in the last 10 weeks. (dpa)