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14 killed in Parachinar sectarian attack

Tribesmen, security officials and the media gather at the site of a bomb attack in the main town of Parachinar, located in Pakistan's Kurram region, September 10, 2012. — Photo by Reuters

PARACHINAR: A car bomb ripped through a crowded market at the busy Kashmir Chowk of Parachinar, the headquarters of Kurram Agency, killing 14 people and injuring 76 others in what appears to be a sectarian attack.

(According to Reuters news agency, a previously unknown militant group, Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan Ghazi Group, claimed responsibility for the attack and said it was aimed at the Shia community).

Witnesses and political administration officials said an explosives-laden white car parked at the busy Kashmir Chowk, exploded, killing two people on the spot while 12 others died at or on the way to hospital.

Some of the dead were identified as Syed Gul Agha, Sharif Hussain, Irshad Hussain, Salman Ali, Muntazir Hussain, Shahid Hussain, Hedayat Hussain, Muhammad, Hayat Ali and Syed Sajjad Hussain. Bodies of other victims, including a woman, were mutilated beyond recognition.

The blast was so powerful that it destroyed 30 shops and badly damaged 100 others. It also destroyed the boundary wall of a women’s hospital and gutted six vehicles. Political Agent Syed Shahab Ali Shah told journalists that over 50 kilograms of explosives had been used in the explosion. He said that mortars and rockets had been packed together with explosives to make the blast more deadly and destructive and to increase its lethality.

“The busy Kashmir Chowk was chosen for the blast. There is hustle and bustle all day as general stores, barber shops, sweet shops, chicken shops, vegetable and fruit stalls are situated there,” he said.

The bombing also knocked down a high transmission electricity line.

Soon after the blast, local people, Levies’ personnel and workers of NGOs rushed the place and took the dead and the injured to hospital in private vehicles and ambulances.

Javed Hussain, a witness, said he saw body parts of the victims scattered all over the Chowk. The injured were crying for help as smoke enveloped the entire area and fire hindered rescue work.

All the dead and injured people were taken to DHQ Hospital in Parachinar, where an emergency was declared.

At least 12 critically injured people were sent to Peshawar. Local people thronged the Haideri Blood Bank in response to an appeal for blood donation for the injured people.

The Anjuman Hussainia of Parachinar has declared a three-day mourning in memory of the victims.

Agencies add: “Those killed were all members of the Shia community,” a security official said. “A large number of people were present in the market when the blast took place,” said tribesman Dildar Hussain by telephone.

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