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Pakistan Election Rally Bombing Death Toll Climbs To 20


FILE: The explosion took place as Haroon Bilour (L), the party's candidate for a provincial assembly, was arriving for a party meeting.

The death toll from a suicide bombing at an election rally claimed by the Pakistani Taliban has climbed to 20.

A suicide bomber attacked a crowd waiting for an election rally organized by the Awami National Party (ANP) in the northwestern city of Peshawar on July 10.

Mohammad Khurasani, a spokesman for the Pakistani Taliban, said in a July 11 statement that the group had targeted the ANP in an attack that killed Haroon Ahmed Bilour, a candidate for a seat in the provincial legislature. Another 65 people were wounded.

Militants have attacked the secular, ethnic Pashtun-dominated ANP in the past over its opposition to the Taliban and similar extremist groups.

Bilour's father, Bashir Ahmed Bilour, was killed by a suicide bomber in 2012.

The bombing came hours after Major General Asif Ghafoor, an army spokesman, warned of security threats ahead of national elections scheduled for July 25.

Ghafoor said the army would deploy more than 370,000 security forces to polling stations to ensure free and fair elections.

Based on reporting by AP and AFP

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