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Pakistan: 23 Shi'a Muslims, incl children, killed in Pindi suicide hit

22-11-2012

RAWALPINDI, (The News, Dawn,AFP): At least 23[Shi'a] mourners, including two minors, were killed and more than 30 critically wounded when a suicide blast ripped through a mourning procession [commemmorating martyrdom of Imam Husayn, grandson of Prophet Muhammad] taken out from the Imambargah Qasar-e-Shabbir in Dhok Syedan on Misrial Road here on Wednesday night.



The Pindi blast occurred when the procession was proceeding towards the Imambargah at 11.28 pm. The suicide bomber blew himself up when security personnel intercepted him close to the procession, eyewitnesses said.



Some participants of the procession, however, said that the mourning was about to end when the suicide bomber entered the procession without any resistance and blew himself up.The sound of the blast was so loud that it was heard miles away from the scene.



Hospital sources said that three police personnel and five children were among the injured, adding that the death toll could rise.A hand grenade was also found lying near the procession, the sources said, adding that the police with the help of army troops cordoned off the area to avoid any follow-up attack on the procession.



Volunteers shifted the wounded and dead to the District Headquarters, Cantonment, Combined Military, Benazir Bhutto and other hospitals of the city where the condition of more than nine persons was declared critical, rescue sources said.



City Police Officer (CPO) Azhar Hamid Khokhar, while talking to media persons, confirmed that it was a suicide attack. He said that security has been further beefed up to protect processions during the holy month of Muharram.



Only six police personnel were deployed at the Imambargah to protect the mourning procession, the participants claimed.Shia leader Maulana Ameen Shaheedi, while talking to the media, said that at least 16 mourners were killed during the attack.



Angry participants of the procession said that poor security caused the bloodshed. The people staged a protest demonstration to register their anger. They claimed that the security arrangements were not enough to provide protection to the mourners and alleged that the police personnel were not properly checking the suspicious from joining the procession.Army helicopters continued to conduct aerial surveillance after the incident.Remains of the suicide bomber have been shifted to a hospital for a DNA test.

Meanwhile, according to Dawn, Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) spokesman Ehsanullah Ehsan while talking to Dawn.com’s correspondent on Thursday, said that the TTP was responsible for the blasts carried out a day earlier near Imambargahs in Rawalpindi and Karachi.

While giving details of the attacks Ehsan said that the organisation had carried out a suicide blast in Rawalpindi whereas the twin explosions in Karachi were planted bombs adding that it would stage more attacks on Shias over the next few days.

The statement came after the TTP had claimed responsibility for two earlier blasts on the same day in Bannu and Shangla areas, bringing the tally of cities targeted on Wednesday to four.

Pakistani Shias, targeted in three explosions which killed at least 15 people on Wednesday, are now receiving death threat text messages on cellphones ahead of a key event in their religious calendar that has been tainted by violence in the past.

“Kill, Kill, Shias,” say the text warnings to members of the minority sect.

More than 300 Shias have been killed in Pakistan so far this year in sectarian conflict, according to human rights groups.

http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-13-19006-20-mourners-killed-in-Pindi-suicide-hit

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