Taliban Gunmen Kill 29 During Prayers at Pakistan Air Base

  • Attack is deadliest since militants slaughtered 134 children
  • Most of the dead were in a local mosque for morning prayers

At least 29 people died and an equal number were injured when militants from an offshoot of the Pakistani Taliban attacked civilians praying in a mosque at a Peshawar air force base, a military spokesman said Friday.

The assault was the deadliest since Taliban fighters killed 134 students at a school last December in the northwestern city near the Afghan border. Fourteen militants took part, Pakistani Taliban spokesman Muhammad Khurasani said in an e-mail.

The attackers arrived around 5 a.m., army spokesman Asim Bajwa said in a press conference. They were armed with rocket launchers and grenades. Most of the victims were civilians, he said.

The 10-14 terrorists who carried out the attack had come from bases in Afghanistan, Bajwa said. The strike was planned and controlled there too, he said.

It appeared all the perpetrators had been killed, though their driver may have gotten away, Bajwa said. Television channels showed photographs of the slain gunmen dressed in paramilitary uniforms.

Bajwa said he couldn’t rule out the possibility that the terrorists had received assistance from people on the base.

The attack comes 15 months after the army started a crackdown against militants in the country’s tribal North Waziristan area. More than 60,000 people have died in terrorism-related violence in Pakistan since 2001.

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