WORLD -- January 1, 2010 at 2:28 PM ET
Suicide Bomber in Pakistan Kills Dozens During Volleyball Match
A suicide bomber drove an explosives-laden car onto a volleyball field in northwest Pakistan on Friday, triggering a blast that killed at least 75 people and wounded dozens more, media outlets reported.
"The villagers were watching the match between the two village teams when the bomber rashly drove his double-cabin pick-up vehicle into them and blew it up," district police chief Mohammad Ayub Khan told the Agence France-Presse.
Police reported at least 75 people died and more than a dozen nearby homes and shops were destroyed. Authorities told news agencies some of the deaths resulted from people being buried in the rubble.
The attack occurred in the city of Lakki Marwat near South Waziristan, where the Pakistani army is battling Taliban militants. Local residents have been organizing their own militias to fight the Taliban, as the government has strengthened its own efforts at the urging of the United States.
"The locality has been a hub of militants. Locals set up a militia and expelled the militants from this area. This attack seems to be reaction to their expulsion," local police chief Ayub Khan told reporters, according to the Associated Press.
The United States has conducted its own missile strikes on suspected militant targets, and on Friday struck a car carrying alleged militants in North Waziristan, killing three men, intelligence officials said, reported the AP.
Friday's explosion at the volleyball tournament was the second large-scale attack to occur this week. On Monday, a suicide bomber struck a procession of minority Shiite Muslims marking the holy day of Ashoura in the southern city of Karachi, killing 43 people.
As government forces fight militants in the Northwest Frontier, South Waziristan and other parts of Pakistan, tens of thousands of Pakistanis have left their homes to avoid the fighting, creating a dire humanitarian situation.