PARACHINAR: A suicide bomber detonated his explosive vest outside a mosque in a Shia neighborhood on Friday in the restive northwestern Kurram tribal region near the Afghanistan border, killing at least 26 people, local government and security officials said.
The bomber struck outside the mosque in a busy market in Parachinar, the main town in Kurram, after Friday prayers, in the latest attack by Sunni militants against minority Shias.
“The bomber hurt many people. We have 26 bodies, and 10 of the wounded are in critical condition,” Liaqat Bangash, a local emergency official told Reuters.
Fazal Saeed, leader of a breakaway faction of the Pakistani Taliban, claimed responsibility for the attack.
“We have targeted the Shia community of Parachinar because they were involved in activities against us,” he told Reuters by telephone from an undisclosed location.
“We also warn the political administration of Parachinar to stop siding with the Shia community in all our disputes.”
Saeed, who follows an anti-Shia school of thought, was part of the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) but broke away last year after disputes with the umbrella militant group’s leadership.
He is said to have close ties with the Haqqani militant group, one of the most feared factions of the Afghan Taliban.