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Eight killed in Pakistan blasts


Islamabad : A prominent cleric who supported military offensives in Pakistan’s northwestern Swat valley and seven other people were killed Friday in two separate mosque bombings in the country, media reports said.

Sarfraz Ahmad Naeemi was in his office adjacent to a mosque in the eastern city of Lahore when a teenage suicide bomber entered the building and blew himself up.

Chaudhry Shafeeq, Lahore’s senior superintendent of police operations, confirmed the death of the cleric and three other people in the suicide bombing. Six people were injured, he said.

Naeemi, a moderate cleric, was vocal supporter of ongoing military operations against Taliban in Swat and three neighbouring districts. He repeatedly issued fatwas, or religious rulings, to declare suicide attacks un-Islamic.

The militants have recently stepped attacks on security personnel and civilians to avenge the army assault that has killed more than 1,400 Taliban fighters in Swat and nearby areas.

Separately, a huge explosion targeted a mosque in Nowshera district of North-West Frontier Province (NWFP), killing at least four people and injuring 40, during Friday prayers, police said.

The mosque was targeted by a car suicide bombing, district police officer, Abdullah Khan said.

The mosque was located near a military ammunition depot and was regularly visited by the soldiers and officers.