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Bomb at Pakistan funeral kills at least 27

A man who was injured in a suicide bomb attack at a funeral in Mardan, is brought to a local hospital in Peshawar, the provincial capital of militancy-hit Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province, Pakistan, 18 June 2013. (ARSHAD ARBAB/EPA)

More than two dozen people were killed Tuesday when at least one suicide bomber detonated explosives at a funeral packed with prominent local officials in northwestern Pakistan, the latest in a string of gruesome attacks in a country struggling to combat terrorist threats.

The blast occurred just as the funeral for a local businessman was ending in a remote village in Pakistan’s Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province. Dozens of local leaders and provincial figures, some of them aligned with the anti-Taliban Awani National Party, were present when the bomb detonated.

The party, which has sought to root out Pakistan’s Taliban from areas in the northwest bordering Afghanistan, had been influential in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, but it was resoundingly rejected in provincial elections held May 11.

Party members were known for being cooperative with Pakistani anti-terrorism officials, but they have paid a steep price over the years, with hundreds killed in suspected attacks by Pakistan’s Taliban.

No group, however, has claimed responsibility for Tuesday’s blast, which left at least two provincial legislators dead. According to preliminary figures, 27 people in all were killed at the funeral and about 60 wounded.

Officials stressed that the death toll might rise, and a Washington Post reporter found a grisly scene at the local hospital, including 18 bodies on the ground and survivors walking around with body parts in their hair.

“I am all right, thanks be to Allah,” said Zahir Shah, 70, who was in the front row at the funeral when the bomb detonated. “My son and bodyguard are injured.”

Tim Craig in Kabul contributed to this report.

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