PARACHINAR: Lashkar-e-Jhangvi claimed responsibility on Sunday for a bomb blast that killed 24 people at a crowded bazaar in a predominantly Shia area of Parachinar.
The Sunni organisation said they had planted an IED (improvised electronic device) at the Eidgah used-clothes market in Parachinar city in retaliation for Shia support of Iran and Bashar al-Assad.
“We warn the Shia parents that if they don’t stop their children from participating in the war of Bashar al-Assad, they would face more attacks like this,” Ali Bin Sufiyan, believed to be a spokesman for Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, said in a message to the media.
The Kurram tribal district where the attack took place is known for sectarian clashes between Sunnis and Shia.
A powerful bomb blast ripped through Tal Adda area of Parachinar, Kurram Agency, killing at least 24 people on Sunday. According to hospital sources, as many as 70 people were injured as a result of the blast; 15 of them critically. The blast took place in Eidgah market of used winter garments, which was crowded by people.
Eyewitnesses said they saw at least 11 bodies being taken towards an imambaragah in the area. Residents said more fatalities are expected as dozens are critically injured.
Local television footage showed hundreds of male people fleeing the area, which was strewn with clothing and debris, as police tried to cordon off the location and ambulances rushed to the site.
A Bomb Disposal Squad (BDS) official said that, “It was a timed device. Around 30 to 35 kilograms of explosives were used in the blast.”
Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Governor Mahtab Ahmad Khan said he had ordered the shifting of critically injured people to Peshawar.
Security sources said that two suspects have been taken into custody from the blast site.
Earlier, rescue and emergency teams rushed to the blast site and shifted the dead and wounded to District Headquarters Hospital (DHQ) Parachinar.
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, Speaker National Assembly Sardar Ayaz Sadiq, Federal Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan, Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf chairman Imran Khan and Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif issued condemnation messages against the blast.
Kurram is one of the most sensitive tribal areas as it borders three Afghan provinces and at one point was one of the key routes for militant movement across the border. It has witnessed scores of such attacks and kidnapping for ransom incidents in the past several years.
The agency is adjacent to North Waziristan where Operation Zarb-i-Azb is in progress against the Tehreek-i-Taliban and other insurgent groups. The military had also launched offensives against militants in 2011. Parachinar is the administrative headquarters of the agency near the Afghan border.
It is small garrison town developed by the British Army in the foothills of Spin Ghar (White Mountain) in mid-1895. The town’s total population is about 40,000.
Source: Business Recorder