Suicide bombing at Shiite procession kills 20 in Pakistan
Islamabad: At least 20 people including four children were killed and several others injured in a suicide attack on a procession by minority Shias in Pakistan's Sindh province today, a day after 12 others were killed in another suicide attack at a Shia shrine on the eve of Muharram.
The bomber targeted a Shiite procession being taken out as part of Muharram festival in Jacobabad.
Rescue sources said that at least 20 persons were killed in the attack, including four children, while over 30 were injured, Dawn News reported.
Deputy Superintendent Police (DSP) Khuda Bakhash said it was a suicide bombing.
SSP Jacobabad Malik Zafar Iqbal Awan said: "Police have recovered lower part of the body of the possible suicide bomber from the site."
Police said that the death toll may rise as some of the injured were in critical condition.
The injured were rushed to the District Hospital Jacobabad where an emergency has been declared. It was the second major attack that targeted the minority Shia Muslims in the holy month of Muharram when they organise special prayers and take out processions to observe the martyrdom of Hussain Ibne Ali, the grandson of the Prophet.
It came just a day after 12 other people were killed in a suicide bombing at a Shia shrine in Pakistan's restive Balochistan province.
The minority Shias are regularly attacked by extremist Sunni militant groups in Pakistan who consider them as heretics.
As many as 61 people were killed and at least another 60 injured in a bomb explosion in a Shia imambargah in upper Sindh district of Shikarpur on January 30.
Thousands of lives have been lost in the last decade due to the ongoing sectarian violence.
The government has taken extraordinary security measures for the two most important days of the month of Muharram with thousands of paramilitary rangers and police deployed in major cities and towns to avoid any terrorist attacks which could trigger off sectarian violence.
The Sindh government had already imposed a ban on pillion riding in Karachi and many other cities of the province. Mobile phone and internet services have also been blocked in major cities, including Karachi.