At least 18 people were killed and dozens more wounded Friday in a suicide bombing in the northwestern Pakistani town of Hangu, police told Efe.

Geo television said the death toll was 22.

The attacker detonated the explosives in the main market as worshippers were leaving two nearby mosques after Friday prayers.

"Seven or eight of the wounded are in critical condition," Hangu police officer Nasir Ali said.

Hangu lies near the tribal region of Orakzai, part of an area that has experienced a significant escalation of violence in the past week.

More than 100 suspected insurgents have died in airstrikes in the area since last weekend.

Rival insurgent groups continue to battle each other control for the strategic Tirah Valley, which offers access to Afghanistan and to Taliban strongholds farther to the south on the Pakistan side of the border. EFE