Blast at mosque in southern Pakistan kills 50

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Blast at mosque in southern Pakistan kills 50

Earlier this month, six people were killed and 17 wounded by a suicide bomber outside a mosque in the city of Rawalpindi, also after Friday prayers.

By (Agencies)

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Published: Fri 30 Jan 2015, 9:16 PM

Last updated: Thu 25 Jun 2015, 9:06 PM

Pakistani investigators and security officials look for forensic evidence at a mosque in Shikarpur, Pakistan.- AP

Pakistani investigators and security officials look for forensic evidence at a mosque in Shikarpur, Pakistan.- AP

Shikarpur, Pakistan: At least 50 people were killed in a powerful explosion at a crowded mosque in Pakistan during Friday prayers, the latest sectarian attack to hit the South Asian nation.

Police said the blast was caused either by a suicide bomber or an explosive device which went off when the mosque was at its fullest on Friday afternoon in the centre of Shikarpur, a city in Pakistan’s southern province of Sindh.

Earlier this month, six people were killed and 17 wounded by a suicide bomber outside a  mosque in the city of Rawalpindi, also after Friday prayers.

“We are trying to ascertain the nature of the blast,” said Shikarpur police chief Saqib Ismail Memon. “A bomb disposal squad is examining the scene.”

Saeed Ahmed Mangnejo, head of the regional civil administration, told Reuters that the death toll had reached 49.

In chaotic scenes that followed the blast, part of the mosque collapsed after the explosion, burying some of the wounded under rubble. Bystanders pulled people from the debris and piled them into cars for the journey to hospital.

Locals said there were not enough ambulances and the army later sent additional vehicles to transport people to hospitals.

The atmosphere was tense in Shikarpur after the explosion, with shops boarded up and crowds of emotional residents massing outside hospitals.

“The entire city is in lockdown and there is tension in the air. There is a heavy police presence and the Rangers are patrolling the city,” said Pariyal Marri, a local resident.

“They are our enemies”
Jundullah, a splinter group of Pakistan’s Taleban which last year pledged support for a terrorist in Syria and Iraq, claimed responsibility.

Sain Rakhio Merani, a regional police official, said the blast was probably caused by a bomb, although Pakistani television quoted some residents as saying they saw a man wearing a suicide vest.

The attack came as Pakistan tries to adopt new measures to tackle terrorists following a massacre of 134 children last month at an army-run school in the northwestern city of Peshawar.

The government has pledged to crack down on all militant groups, reintroduce the death penalty, set up military courts to speed convictions and widen its military campaign in lawless tribal areas.

 



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