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December 26, 2010 (KATAKAMI / VOA) — U.S. President Barack Obama has condemned a suicide attack against members of an anti-Taliban tribe in northwestern Pakistan.
The Saturday attack in Pakistan’s Bajur district killed at least 45 people and wounded more than 100 others. Children were among the victims.
A woman dressed in a burqa lobbed a grenade at a World Food Program distribution center, charged into the crowd and blew herself up.
Mr. Obama said the deadly attack at the food distribution center is an affront to the people of Pakistan, and to all humanity. Pakistani Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani, as well as Afghan President Hamid Karzai and U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon have also condemned the attack.
Officials said most of the victims at the center in the town of Khar were members of the Salarzai tribe. The tribe has backed military action against the Taliban and even formed its own militia to help force them from the area.
Officials say many of the victims had been displaced by the second of two military campaigns against the Taliban.
There had been conflicting reports about the sex of the bomber. Male suicide bombers have used burqas in the past to hide their explosives, but local officials said they had confirmed this attacker was a woman.
A spokesman for the Pakistani Taliban claimed responsibility for the bombing.
The World Food Program said none of its staff was wounded.
Bajur district is close to the Afghan border in a region U.S. officials say is a haven for Taliban and al-Qaida militants.
Meanwhile, government officials said Saturday 40 militants were killed during a Pakistani military air raid in the Mohmand tribal region. (*)