A suspected suicide bomber attacked a political rally in northwest Pakistan on Monday, killing at least 19 people and wounding more than 100, officials said.

Pakistan is battling al—Qaeda and Taliban militants blamed for a string of attacks over the last 18 months, most of them in the northwest close to the Afghan border where the insurgents have enjoyed sanctuary in the past.

The blast in Lower Dir district hit a rally by the secular Awami National Party, the region’s ruling party and a prominent supporter of army offensives against the militants.

Hakim Mohammad, a doctor at a local hospital, said 19 people had been killed and 110 people wounded.

ANP party spokesman Zahid Khan said the attack happened as its members were rallying in support of a recent proposal to change the name of North West Frontier Province.

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