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Suicide Bomber Strikes Outside Grieving Pakistani Minister's Home, Killing Eight

Police collect evidence at the site of the suicide bomb attack in Pabbi on July 26.
Police collect evidence at the site of the suicide bomb attack in Pabbi on July 26.
PESHAWAR, Pakistan -- At least eight people, including three policemen, were killed in a suicide bomb attack outside the home of an outspoken provincial minister in northwestern Pakistan, RFE/RL's Radio Mashaal reports.

The explosion occurred on July 26 while acquaintances gathered to offer condolences to the family of provincial Information Minister Mian Iftikhar Hussain for the loss of his son.

Mian Rashid Hussain, 28, was killed on July 24 in an attack claimed by the Pakistani Taliban (Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan), the group based in Pakistan's tribal areas fighting Pakistani troops as well as NATO-led forces in Afghanistan.

The bombing took place in Pabbi, a town located 25 kilometers east of Peshawar, the capital of Pakistan's Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Province.

Witnesses told Radio Mashaal the bomber was on foot as he detonated explosives fastened to his body. He had been stopped by police from entering the minister's home.

"His only brother was killed in the blast," an eyewitness told Radio Mashaal, indicating a man who was weeping nearby. "His [brother's] name was Mudassir [and] he was running the shop over there. He was killed in the blast."

Another eyewitness said he saw a man approaching with "a bandage wrapped around his hand."

"People were offering prayers" for the minister's son, he said, adding, "[The bomber] was stopped by the police and then there was a blast. The policemen were killed and some children were also killed, and a shopkeeper on the street was also killed."

Several of the injured were taken to the Lady Reading Hospital in Peshawar. An injured policeman said three of his colleagues were killed in front of him.

"My name is Ijaz Hussain and I'm the investigator in charge in the Azakhel Police Station," the policeman said. "I was on duty here and I went away from my other colleagues for a few minutes. God saved me and my other colleagues were martyred. I received leg injuries."

Provincial minister Iftikhar Hussain belongs to Pakistan's secular Awami National Party. He survived an attack by a suicide bomber attack in 2009.

He is the most outspoken minister of the provincial government and has been threatened by the Taliban and other militant groups.