18 dead in blast at Pakistani political rally
May 7, 2013 -- Updated 0033 GMT (0833 HKT)
Victims arrive at a hospital after a bomb exploded on Monday during an election campaign meeting in the Kurram tribal district.
- NEW: Pakistani Taliban says it carried out the attack
- At least 56 people were wounded among more than 2,000 people at the rally
- The strike occurred in the Kurram district, a local government official said
- The explosion comes as Pakistanis prepare to vote in Saturday national elections
Islamabad, Pakistan (CNN) -- A blast Monday near a political rally left 18 people dead in a Pakistan tribal region, a local government official said.
The strike occurred in the Kurram district, Riaz Khan said, and also wounded at least 56 people. Khan said the blast was detonated remotely and 10 kilograms of explosives were used.
The explosion occurred during a rally staged by the Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazal Ur Rehman group, a right-wing religious party with sympathies for the militant Taliban movement.
The incident occurred as Pakistanis prepare to go to the polls Saturday for national elections.
Pakistani voters have many choices
Anti-Taliban figures killed in Pakistan
Bhutto case prosecutor gunned down
The Pakistani Taliban claimed responsibility. It said it attacked because one of the candidates, Munir Orakzai, has handed over members of the mujahedeen to the United States.
"We will never forgive him nor leave him alive," a statement from Pakistani Taliban spokesman Ihsan Ullah Ihsan said.
Jan Achakzai, a spokesman for Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazal Ur Rehman, said more than 2,000 people were attending the rally. Dr. Anayatur Rehman, who works at the hospital that received the bodies, said 18 people died.
Achakzai said more than 50 people were injured and two candidates received minor injuries.
"We will continue our politics of peace and reconciliation in Pakistan's tribal region despite these cowards' attacks," Achakzai said.
Violence has marred the run-up to the elections.
The anti-Taliban Awami National Party and the Muttahida Quami Movement and their personnel also have been targeted recently.
Maulana Fazal Rahman, the head of Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazal Ur Rehman, condemned the attack and said it prompted him to underscore the importance of national unity and deplore sectarian hatred.
"We cannot replace Sunnis with Shias, nor Shias with Sunnis, but we can remove hatred between various sects, ethnicities, linguistic groups," he said.
Part of complete coverage on
December 12, 2013 -- Updated 1819 GMT (0219 HKT)
The sign language interpreter widely ridiculed for his performance at the Nelson Mandela memorial stands by his work.
December 12, 2013 -- Updated 1456 GMT (2256 HKT)
Behind the scenes in Cambodian karaoke bars -- a common front for child prostitution.
December 12, 2013 -- Updated 0446 GMT (1246 HKT)
A global risk firm surveys the most politically explosive countries.
December 12, 2013 -- Updated 1801 GMT (0201 HKT)
It's the battle of the tech titans. No, not Apple versus Samsung. Sony has gone head-to-head with Microsoft.
Keep up to date with stories from Europe's biggest tech conference.
December 12, 2013 -- Updated 1509 GMT (2309 HKT)
On Tuesday, I was free. On Wednesday, I became a criminal. India's high court just made being gay illegal, writes Tushar Malik.
December 12, 2013 -- Updated 1046 GMT (1846 HKT)
A Japanese actor says playing villians in Chinese films has helped the China-Japan divide. CNN's Ivan Watson reports.
December 12, 2013 -- Updated 1612 GMT (0012 HKT)
New skyscraper-sized gas plant is the biggest thing on the waves.
December 11, 2013 -- Updated 1524 GMT (2324 HKT)
Pope Francis is Time's person of the year. His papacy has drawn adulation from people around the world for his man-of-the-people ways.
He was imprisoned for life but that did not quiet him. Nelson Mandela became South Africa's first black president, and an icon and inspiration.
December 12, 2013 -- Updated 1205 GMT (2005 HKT)
Turning 50 is a major milestone in a person's life -- and a country's history.
December 12, 2013 -- Updated 1907 GMT (0307 HKT)
Browse through images you don't always see in news reports, taken by CNN teams all around the world.
Today's five most popular stories