PESHAWAR, Pakistan — Bombs that exploded outside two mosques in a village in northwestern Pakistan killed at least 15 people Friday, underlining the challenge of militant violence facing a new government set to take power under the leadership of former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.
The blasts at the two Sunni Muslim mosques also wounded 70 people, said tribal police officer Mohammad Jamil Khan. Both of the mosques were badly damaged, and the roof of one of them collapsed. The mosques were located in Baz Darrah village in the Malakand district of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, said another tribal police officer, Badshah Rehman.
Shahid Ali, who was in the first mosque that was attacked, said the explosion came just as worshipers were starting Friday prayers.
“I rushed out with others and saw several people bleeding and crying,” Ali told The Associated Press by telephone.“There was dust and smoke around.”
Ali rushed to the second mosque after it was attacked and saw that its roof had caved in and it was on fire.
“Many people are buried under the rubble,” he said.
Rescue workers were trying to retrieve the dead and wounded from the debris, Rehman said.
Ameer Wahab, an injured college student at a hospital, said he was among more than 100 people inside the main hall of the mosque where the Imam (prayer leader) had just finished the Friday sermon when a deafening bang was heard from the veranda of the mosque.