Pakistan Suicide Bomb and Riots Kills 22
At least 22 people are dead from asuicide bombing and subsequent riots in Pakistan.
A suicide bombing ripped through a Shiite procession Thursday in northwestern Pakistan, sparking riots during the Muslim sect’s most important holiday. At least 22 people were killed and dozens injured, officials said. The bomb targeted hundreds of people in a bazaar soon after they emerged from the main Shiite mosque in the town of Hangu, district police chief Ayub Khan said.
The Shiites responded by burning shops and cars while clashing with police in the town, located about 125 miles southwest of the capital, Islamabad, Khan said. Army troops moved in to restore order and a curfew was imposed, he said.
Ghani ur-Rehman, the top district administrator, said 22 people were reported killed and more than 50 wounded. He said more than 60 percent of the town bazaar had burned in the violence that following the bombing. A security official, speaking on condition of anonymity because he wasn’t authorized to speak to the media, said some of the fatalities came during gun fights between battling factions in the town after the attack.
The attack took place at the height of the Ashoura holiday, which marks the 7th century death of Imam Hussein, a grandson of the Prophet Muhammad. Hussein’s death led to a rivalry between Shiites and Sunnis over who should succeed the prophet.
Security was tight for the holiday because it has been marred by violence in recent years. Sunni Muslims — the majority in Pakistan — have been blamed for attacking Shiites during the event, which involves religious processions across the country.
It is quite bizarre that religious celebrations spark violence but then Ashoura is commemorated by men whacking themselves in the head with swords and spilling blood all over themselves.