Deadly blast hits Pakistan

MUNIR AHMED
Last updated 23:56 24/11/2012

Relevant offers

Asia

Mount Everest's Hillary Step is missing a 'large block' but is still there, mountaineer's son says Philippines deploys top commandoes, attack helicopters to retake city from Islamist rebels Police chief beheaded by militants in Philippines during deadly spree Taiwan's high court rules in favour of same-sex marriage Donald Trump praises Duterte for an 'unbelievable job' on drug issue - report Defiant Duterte threatens harsh measures as thousands flee Philippines unrest Philippine church says priest, churchgoers taken hostage by IS militants Motorists' alley standoff turns nasty South Korea fires warning shots at North Korea after object crosses border Pakistan authorities seize 20 kg heroin on London-bound flight

A roadside bomb has killed at least seven people, including three children, and wounded 30 others at a Shiite Muslim procession in northwestern Pakistan, as minority Shiites prepared to observe the holy day of Ashoura.

The group of about 100 Shiites were passing through the city of Dera Ismail Khan on their way to join a larger crowd marking the day when the bomb went off, said police official Rashid Khan, who reported the casualty toll.

No one claimed responsibility, but the suspicion fell on Pakistani Taliban, who often carry out such attacks.

On Sunday, (local time), Shiites in Pakistan will celebrate Ashoura, which commemorates the 7th century death of Imam Hussein, the Prophet Muhammad's grandson. The Sunni-Shiite schism over Muhammad's rightful heir dates back to that time.

President Asif Ali Zardari condemned the bombing, which took place near the South Waziristan tribal region.

"Such nefarious acts cannot deter the people and the government in their fight against the scourge of militancy," he said in a statement.

Sunni extremists frequently attack Shiites, who they consider heretics, and the Ashoura ceremonies are a prime targets, bringing out crowds of Shiites to march in processions mourning Hussein.

On Wednesday night, a Taliban suicide bomber struck a Shiite Muslim procession in Rawalpindi, a garrison city near Islamabad, killing 17 people. Initially police said 23 people were killed in this attack, but later authorities put the death toll from bombing to 17. They provided no explanation for discrepancy in death toll.

Also Wednesday, the Taliban set off two bombs within minutes outside a Shiite mosque in the southern city of Karachi, killing one person and wounding 15 others. Pakistani Taliban have claimed responsibility for the attacks in Rawalpindi and Karachi.

Qamar Abbas Zaidi, the spokesman for main Shiite political party, Tehrik-e-Nifaz-e-Fiqh Jafariya, vowed this week to go ahead with Ashoura processions across the country despite threats of attacks.

Pakistani authorities have deployed thousands of additional police across the country to beef up security for such processions, and authorities have suspended mobile phone service in all the major cities for two days to prevent such bombings. Officials say Taliban frequently use cellular phones as remote detonators for bomb attacks.

Ad Feedback

- AP

Special offers

Featured Promotions

Sponsored Content