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PARACHINAR: Amidst mourning and people mostly in a state of shock, the death toll of devastating twin blasts targeting a crowded market on Friday rose to 67 as more injured persons lost their lives overnight, official sources said on Saturday.

Political authorities confirmed to media persons that the number of killed people increased to 67 with several other injured persons also in a critical condition.

Forty-one people were killed and over 200 persons were wounded in one of the worst acts of terrorism in Parachinar, the capital of Kurram Agency, on Friday. By Saturday evening, 26 more people had died during treatment in different hospitals.

A splinter group of outlawed Lashkar-i-Jhangvi claims responsibility

Initially, a blast took place at the busy Turi Market moments after an Al Quds Day rally had concluded at some distance from the place of occurrence. When people rushed to the spot to remove the injured and bodies the second blast, which was more powerful, took place resulting in widespread death and destruction.

Victims were mostly people who were busy in routine as well as Eid shopping.

Keeping in view the magnitude of this tragedy the Agency Headquarters Hospital was not equipped to that standard also lacking medicines and other necessary items.

The affected areas mostly remained cut off from the rest of the country because of disruption in communication networks including cellular phones.

The aggrieved people had also staged a sit-in which continued on Saturday. Personnel of security forces had fired at some protesting mourners which had left several persons injured. Officials said that some charged mourners were trying to ransack government properties due to which they had to resort to firing.

Moving scenes were witnessed when multiple funerals took place in Parachinar city and adjacent areas.

Debris of destroyed items was strewn across the Turi Market. Sandals and shoes of victims littered with blood were also scattered around the area.

In Peshawar, a spokesman for public sector Lady Reading Hospital, Zulfiqar Babakhel, said that they had received 24 wounded and one dead on Friday night from Parachinar. He said that the injured did not include any women or children.

Due to security reasons journalists were not permitted to visit the injured persons and talk to them.

The Friday twin blasts were third major bomb attacks to hit the Parachinar city during this year.

Twenty-five people were killed and 87 others injured when an IED targeted busy vegetable market of the city earlier in January this year, while 23 others were killed and 73 wounded when an explosive-laden vehicle tore through a busy market on March 31.

The proscribed Lashkar-i-Jhangvi al-Alami on Saturday claimed responsibility for twin bombs that hit a market in Parachinar, adds Reuters.

It said in a statement it was targeting Shias and threatened more attacks over “Pakistanis fighting against Sunni militants in Syria’s civil war”.

Published in Dawn, June 25th, 2017