Deputy Afghan governor killed in suicide blast: official

Thu Jan 31, 2008 4:51am EST
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LASHKAR GAH, Afghanistan (Reuters) - A suicide bomber blew himself up inside a mosque in southern Afghanistan on Thursday killing a deputy provincial governor and at least five other people, officials said.

The men were praying in the mosque in Lashkar Gah, the capital of Helmand province, when the blast took place.

"Five people including, Pir Mohammad, (the deputy governor) have been killed in this attack," Nisar Ahmad Barakzai, deputy head for the provincial public health department told Reuters.

Provincial police chief Mohammad Huessien Andiwal said six people, including Mohammad, were killed and 18 worshippers wounded in the attack inside the mosque which lies opposite key government offices in provincial capital, Lashkar Gah.

"When people stood up for prayer, the bomber approached the deputy governor and detonated his explosives," Andiwal told Reuters.

Earlier in the day, a suicide car bomber killed a civilian and wounded four others, including an army officer, in a botched attack aimed at an army bus in the capital, Kabul, officials said.

The Taliban have carried out more than 140 suicide attacks last year. A purported spokesman for the group said a member of the militant movement was behind Kabul's blast.

(Writing by Sayed Salahuddin, editing by Sanjeev Miglani)

<p>Afghans carry bodies from inside a mosque after a suicide blast in Lashkar Gah city in the southern Helmand province, January 31, 2008. REUTERS/Abdul Qodus</p>