PESHAWAR (PAKISTAN) (AFP) - The death toll in a suicide bombing at an election rally in northwestern Pakistan rose to 20 Wednesday as Taliban militants claimed responsibility, officials said, in the first major attack ahead of July 25 polls.
A local leader of the Awami National Party (ANP), Haroon Bilour, was among those killed in the attack in the city of Peshawar late Tuesday, officials have confirmed.
The party has been targeted by Islamist militants in the past over its vocal opposition to extremist groups like the Taliban.
The bombing came hours after the Pakistan military spokesman said there were security threats ahead of national elections.
"The death toll has risen to 20 and 63 others were wounded, out of whom 35 are still admitted in two Peshawar hospitals," Peshawar police chief Qazi Jameel told AFP.