=> PESHAWAR: At least 10 people were killed and anoth -Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)

Paksitan Press Foundtion

=> PESHAWAR: At least 10 people were killed and anoth

PESHAWAR: At least 10 people were killed and another 25, including two lady constables, injured when a teenage suicide bomber detonated explosives at an imambargah late on Thursday.

“It was a suicide attack,” interior ministry spokesman Brigadier Javed Cheema told AFP. “The bomber was 15 or 16 years old and he blew himself up after entering the gate leading to the prayer hall.”

The incident happened around 6.55pm in the Mirza Qasim Baig Imambargah located in Jangi Mohallah, where around 90 people were present at the time, witnesses said.

Peshawar Police Chief Tanvirul Haq Sipra confirmed that seven people had been killed and another 18 injured.

Muhammad Shafiq, an official at Lady Reading Hospital, confirmed the death toll and said three of the injured were in critical condition.

An eyewitness told Daily Times that a man with a small beard and wearing a white jersey entered the gathering, and opened fire on the zakir with an assault rifle before detonating himself. “I saw a young man push [past] the security men at the gate and then run in firing. Then there was a huge explosion and lots of smoke,” Ghulam Abbas, an official at the mosque, told AFP.

SSP (Operations) Imtiaz Shah told Daily Times that it was a suicide attack but it was not clear how the bomber had managed to enter the imambargah. Inspector Imtiaz Khan said the bomber blew himself up among the participants of a majlis here. He said police had found the bomber’s head, which was mutilated beyond recognition.

Explosives used: NWFP IG Sharif Virk told Geo TV that 10 kg explosives and 3kg ball bearings were used in the blast. The blast was so intense that it damaged a wall of the imambargah, while body parts were found scattered at the scene. Pieces of human flesh were stuck to the ceiling and four walls, an AFP correspondent said. Shoes, caps and black flags littered the floor, while the interior of the mosque was scorched. People staged angry protests at the site after the blast and chanted anti-government slogans, only to later disperse peacefully.

The police cordoned off the area. The government has stepped up security in the hope of heading off sectarian violence during the religious commemoration in Muharram, which reaches a climax this weekend with processions by Shias across the country.

The blast, however, belied the tall claims by the officials concerned that foolproof security arrangements had been made to prevent such attacks at places of worship and processions of Shia mourners during Muharram. Last year, around 15 people, including Peshawar police chief Malik Muhammad Saad, were killed when a suicide bomber detonated explosives in the middle of a procession on 7th Muharram in the Dalgaran area of Qissa Khwani Bazaar.
Source: Daily Times
Date:1/18/2008