KHAR, Pakistan -- A suicide bomber attacked a mosque in northwest Pakistan on Friday, killing at least 16 worshippers and wounding 25 others, officials said.
The attacker shouted “God is Great” as he entered the mosque in the village of Ambar in Pakistan’s Mohmand tribal region, government administrator Naveed Akbar told The Associated Press. He said rescuers were transporting the dead and wounded to nearby hospitals.
Pashin Gul, the head of local tribal police, confirmed that it was a suicide attack. He said the bombing took place during Friday prayers, adding that several of the wounded were in a critical condition.
No group immediately claimed responsibility for the attack. The country has witnessed several large-scale militant attacks this year, claimed by an offshoot of the Pakistani Taliban and the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS).
Pakistan’s tribal regions, which border Afghanistan, were considered to be strongholds of Pakistani Taliban militants until 2014 when the military launched a major operation there, evicting and killing large numbers of insurgents. However, violence has continued in some of the tribal regions.
Friday’s attack came hours after army chief Gen. Raheel Sharif met with Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to discuss security issues. According to a government statement, Sharif pledged to continue the war against terrorism.
The military says some 18,000 civilians and 5,000 soldiers have been killed in militant attacks in Pakistan since the September 11, 2001 attacks in the United States, when Islamabad threw its support behind Washington in the war on terror.