Muharram Processions in Pak Targeted, 7 Killed

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PESHAWAR – A bomb killed seven people Saturday near a Muharram procession in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s Dera Ismail Khan district despite a security crackdown, the latest attack on Shias during the holy month.

Four children  were among the dead and 30 other people were injured when the remote-controlled bomb packed with ball bearings exploded on the outskirts of Dera Ismail Khan, police said.

Police said a 10-kilogramme bomb was hidden in a dustbin on the procession route and its powerful blast could be heard several kilometres away.

According to a Dawn.com correspondent, a bomb-disposal squad personnel confirmed that eight to ten kilograms of explosive material was used in the blast.

“The death toll is now seven, four of them are children,” local hospital chief Aziz Baloch told AFP. “Four of the wounded were in critical condition, they have been shifted to the central city of Multan.”

Akhtar Nawaz, another official at the state-run district headquarters hospital said three children were dead on arrival and the four other people died after being admitted.

City police chief Khalid Suhail said the dead children were aged between six and 11 years. “They were young boys,” he said.

On Sunday, Shia Muslims in Pakistan will observe Ashura, which commemorates the brutal massacre of Imam Hussein, the Prophet Muhammad’s grandson and his kin. 

Earlier police averted a suicide attack on a Muharram gathering in Lakki Marwat when they intercepted a bomber who was trying to move towards the congregation. Two security officers were injured as the suicide bomber, riding a rickshaw, blew himself up, Express News reported.

According to the report, the bomber blew himself up when police tried to stop him from moving forward.

Police tried to stop the rickshaw near a check post where they exchanged fire and the bomber detonated himself.

Following the blast, security was beefed up in the area. Security officials swept the place for more planted bombs.

The injured were rushed to the district headquarters hospital.

The country has witnessed multiple bomb blasts since the beginning of Muharram. Strict security measures have been taken given the terror threats.

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