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Last Updated: Saturday, 1 March 2008, 01:15 GMT
Suicide bomb at Pakistan funeral
Pakistanis injured in a suicide attack lie on a hospital floor in Mingora, 29 February 2008
Some of the injured were treated at a local hospital
At least 38 people have been killed by a suicide bomber at a funeral in north-western Pakistan.

The funeral was for one of three policemen killed by a roadside bomb earlier on Friday.

Police official Wakif Khan told the BBC Urdu service that about 65 people were injured in the attack in Mingora, the main town in the valley of Swat.

Swat has seen continued confrontations in recent months between pro-Taleban militants and the security forces.

Pakistan's army recently said it had regained control over much of the region, driving back local Islamist militants.

Appeal for blood

Hundreds of mourners were attending the funeral in Mingora when the attacker struck.

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"The explosion took place as we were preparing to give the honour salute," said Deputy Superintendent Karamat Shah.

"I remember seeing people rushing away and body parts everywhere."

Hospital authorities dealing with the injured were reported to be appealing for blood donations.

The funeral was for one of three officers killed earlier in the town of Lakki Marwat in Bannu district, which borders the troubled North Waziristan tribal region.

The bomb exploded near their vehicle, police said. The chief of police in Bannu district, Hamza Mehsud, said two others were critically wounded in the blast.

The health minister for North West Frontier Province told AFP news agency efforts to rescue the injured had suffered delays.

"We are facing difficulty in the relief operation because the blast also damaged an electricity transformer in the area," Syed Kamal Shah was quoted as saying.

Sharia campaign

Hundreds of people have died in recent months in battles between the security forces and pro-Taleban militants.

Correspondents say the border areas of North West Frontier Province are a hotbed of militancy and a breeding ground for the Taleban and al-Qaeda.

Pakistan's military recently said it had regained control over much of Swat, a mountainous region once famed as a tourist idyll.

Followers of a local cleric, Maulana Fazlullah, had been attacking security forces in a campaign to impose sharia, or Islamic law, in the area.

On Thursday at least 12 people, including suspected militants, were killed in a missile attack on a house in the South Waziristan region.

It is not clear where the attack was launched from, but residents said they suspected it was from Afghanistan where Nato troops are fighting the Taleban.

VIDEO AND AUDIO NEWS
Aftermath of the bombing



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