Second blast hits D.I. Khan

DERA ISMAIL KHAN - A bomb killed at least five people and wounded 90 near a Muharram procession in Pakistan on Sunday, police said, as the government struggled to contain sectarian militants who have been stepping up attacks.

By (Reuters)

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Published: Mon 26 Nov 2012, 11:45 PM

Last updated: Fri 3 Apr 2015, 12:53 PM

Hardliners threatened to carry out major attacks this weekend, prompting authorities to halt cellphone service in several areas to prevent bombings triggered by remote control.

Authorities have also restricted motorcycle travel, hoping to deprive suicide bombers of one mode of transportation.

Television footage showed the wounded being carried away in the northwestern city of Dera Ismail Khan, where a bomb killed at least seven people, including four children, on Saturday.

Taleban movement, which is focused on trying to topple the US-backed government and is also allied with sectarian groups, claimed responsibility for both attacks.

“For Interior Minister n Rehman Malik, who blocked mobile phones across the country and banned motorbikes, you can’t stop our activities against the Shia community and security forces,” Taleban spokesman Ehsanullah Ehasan said by telephone from an undisclosed location.

“We will keep continuing our activities and this is a failure of security forces, police and army that we have made successful attacks in Dera Ismail Khan.”

Sunday’s bomb, planted in a shop beside a street market, also wounded five security officials, said senior police official Malik Mushtaq.

Doctors at a hospital in Dera Ismail Khan said five people were killed and 90 wounded.

“There is a lack of ambulances and not enough hospital beds,” said one. “People brought many of the injured to the hospital on rickshaws.”

Hardline sectarian groups, which are becoming increasingly dangerous, have threatened more attacks as religious gatherings come to a climax on Sunday.

Security officials say organisations such as Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LeJ) are stepping up attacks in a bid to destabilise Pakistan and establish a theocracy.

Al Qaeda, which is close to LeJ, pushed Iraq to the brink of a sectarian civil war several years ago with large-scale suicide bombings.

More than 300 people have been killed in Pakistan so far this year in sectarian conflict, according to human rights groups. The campaign is gathering pace in rural as well as urban areas such as Karachi, country’s biggest city.

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