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Suicide Bomber Wounds 30 in Northwestern Pakistan


Pakistani officials say a suicide bomber has wounded at least 30 people in the northwestern Khyber tribal region. Only the bomber was killed.

Officials say the attack happened Thursday at offices of the conservative Islamic organization the "Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice."

Witnesses say the bomber struck just after a cleric appealed for donations to support Islamist militants. They say a boy stood up pretending to donate a weapon and then detonated his explosives.

Witnesses say the group's leader, Haji Namdar, escaped unhurt.

Local officials say a turf war between tribal groups likely prompted the bombing. Fighting between rival religious groups has plagued the area in recent years.

Khyber is one of the Pakistani territories bordering Afghanistan where militants aligned with the Taliban and al-Qaida have a strong influence.

The U.S. State Department released a report Wednesday saying al-Qaida has exploited the instability in the border over the past year. The report said terrorists are expanding their networks in South and Central Asia, and are posing a threat to the region and U.S. interests.