Suicide attack on Pak hospital kills 17, injures 20

At least 17 people were killed and 20 others injured on Friday when a suicide bomber rammed an explosives-laden vehicle into a hospital being built by the minority Shia community in Pakistan's restive northwest Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province.

The Hazara Hospital in Hangu town collapsed following the blast and several persons were buried under the rubble, witnesses said.

Rescue workers and local residents pulled bodies and the injured out of debris.
Seventeen people were killed and 20 others injured in the attack, officials said.

Several nearby buildings were damaged by the powerful blast.

Rescue efforts were hampered by the lack of heavy machinery and a power outage caused by the explosion.

Kohat Commissioner Khalid Khan said the bomber had targeted the hospital.

Hangu is located near Kohat, where a suicide bomber struck a crowded bus terminal on Wednesday, killing 19 people and injuring over 30 others.

Sources said the minority Shia community was also the target of Wednesdays attack.

No group claimed responsibility for Friday’s attack. Hangu district has been declared "very sensitive" by intelligence agencies for the Islamic holy month of Muharram, which began on Wednesday.

Authorities have put in place strict security arrangements across Pakistan as sectarian and militant violence has occurred during the month in past years.

Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani condemned Friday's attack in Hangu, describing it as a "brutal and inhuman act of militants".

He reiterated his government's resolve to fight the menace of terrorism and militancy till its eradication.
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