PESHAWAR, Pakistan, Feb. 10 (UPI) -- A young suicide bomber in a school uniform attacked an army center in Pakistan Thursday, killing and wounding dozens of soldiers as they trained, the army said.
The attack occurred on the parade ground inside the Punjab Regimental Center in Mardan in the violence-torn northwest region, where the soldiers were training, the army said.
CNN reported the attacker was a 14-year-old and the explosion killed at least 27 people and wounded 42 more. Other reports put the casualty toll higher.
Geo News, quoting officials, said the teenager walked up the heavily guarded facility and blew himself up.
The military in a statement said the attack was carried out "by a boy in school uniform in Punjab Regimental Center" in Mardan as the "security officials in the regimental center were carrying out their routine parade at the time of suicide attack," Geo News reported.
The state-run Associated Press of Pakistan said some of the injured were in critical condition.
CNN quoted Azam Tariq, a spokesman for the Pakistani Taliban, claiming responsibility with a warning: "We will continue targeting the Pakistan military until it stops supporting the U.S."
Officials told CNN the attacker was either carrying the explosives in a bag or wearing a suicide vest.
The BBC reported the school uniform might have allowed the bomber to pass through several security checks at the facility.
Mardan is northeast of Peshawar, capital of northwest Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province, near the border with Afghanistan.
Pakistan's Dawn newspaper said an anti-Taliban military operation in the area has been under way since last month.