Suicide bomb kills 75 at Pakistan volleyball game

Officials say 75 people were killed Friday after a car bomb exploded at a volleyball tournament in northwest Pakistan.

Several homes collapse near blast

People transport a victim of the suicide bombing at a hospital in Bannu, Pakistan, on Friday. ((Ijaz Muhammad/Associated Press))
Officials say 75 people were killed Friday after a car bomb exploded at a volleyball tournament in northwest Pakistan.

Another 65 people were wounded when a suicide bomber drove a vehicle onto the field and blew himself up in Lakki Marwat city.

Some of the casualties were pulled from rubble from nearby homes that were destroyed in the blast.

According to police, there was a large crowd present to watch the match when the car exploded.

It's believed the dead included members of the local peace committee, which campaigned for an end to Taliban influence in the district.

Lakki Marwat's police chief, Ayub Khan, told reporters that locals set up a militia and expelled militants from the area recently.

"This attack seems to be reaction to their expulsion," he said.

Ground offensive against Taliban

He said the bomber drove a vehicle loaded with 250 kilograms of high-intensity explosives onto the field, which lies in a congested neighbourhood, during the volleyball contest.

Some nearby houses collapsed, Khan said.

In addition, a group of local tribal elders was holding a meeting at a mosque nearby. The mosque was damaged and some people there died, he said.

The Pakistani army hailed as a success its ground offensive against Taliban operatives in the tribal region of South Waziristan. About 30,000 troops entered the region in mid-October and pulled back two months later.

However, it's believed a significant number of militants escaped to neighouring areas, like the one where this latest attack took place.

The number of people who have been killed in militant attacks in Pakistan is nearing 600 in just three months, with no end in sight to the violence.

With files from The Associated Press