Pakistan suicide bomb kills at least 28, injures minister


Apr 28, 2007

(CNN) -- A suicide bomber blew himself up Saturday at a public gathering in northwestern Pakistan, killing at least 28 people and injuring at least 37 others, police said.

The injured included the Pakistani interior minister and his son, according to police.

Interior Minister Aftab Ahmad Khan Sherpao was addressing the gathering of about 200 people when the blast took place in Charsadda, his hometown, police said.

A police official confirmed it was a suicide bombing, saying the bomber's head had been found.

Eyewitnesses said the man detonated his explosives when guards tried to stop him as he moved toward Sherpao.

Among the dead were three police officers guarding Sherpao, but Interior Ministry sources said Sherpao and his son sustained only minor injuries.

Video footage from the scene showed guards in bloodied clothes attempting to rush Sherpao to safety.

A witness, Salim Jan, told The Associated Press that Sherpao was talking with people after the speech when the explosives detonated.

"I saw the head of a man there. I saw bodies there. I also saw security men helping Sherpao to go toward his car," he told the AP.

Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf condemned the attack as "an act of terrorism."

Interior Ministry spokesman Jawaid Iqbal Chwema said the bomber is believed to be an Afghan national.

Officials said Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz has spoken to Sherpao by telephone. Interior Ministry officials said Sherpao would be moved to an undisclosed location.

Police told the AP that Sherpao was being taken to a hospital in the nearby city of Peshawar.