| Updated at: 1558 PST, Monday, December 06, 2010|
GHALANAI: The death toll in double suicide bombings at office of political agent in Mohmand Agency area of Ghalanai, mounted to 40, Geo News reported Monday.
The bombers targeted a local administration compound in Ghalalnai, the main town in the tribal district of Mohmand, about 175 kilometres (110 miles) northwest of the federal capital Islamabad and near the Afghan border.
More than 100 people were believed to have been in the compound where government officials, allied tribal elders and members of local anti-Taliban militia were holding talks, leading to fears that the death toll could rise.
"It appears to be a suicide attack. I don't know the exact number of casualties because efforts are being made to remove debris," Amjad Ali Khan, the top government official in the region, who appeared to be the target of the attack, said while talking to a British news agency by telephone.
"There were two bombers. They were on foot. The first blew himself up inside the office of one of my deputies while the second one set off explosives when guards caught him." Mohmand is one of the lawless tribal regions in Pakistan's northwest.
"There were two suicide attackers, both came on motorbikes," he added, dismissing suggestions that security had been lax.
It was the second suicide attack in five months targeting Mohmand tribal elders allied to the government. On July 9, a suicide car bomb attack killed 105 people in the region's town of Yakaghund.
"Routine security arrangements were in place. It is difficult to stop suicide bombers, they can go anywhere."
Local administration officials said that the first suicide bomber blew himself up at the entrance and the second inside the compound.
"There was a meeting underway between the local administration chief and tribal elders, members of the peace committee (anti-Taliban militia) when the blast took place," another local official, Maqsood Amin, said.