Suicide bomber kills 13 in Pakistan's Rawalpindi: TV

Wed Nov 21, 2012 3:59pm EST
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By Salman Rao

RAWALPINDI, Pakistan (Reuters) - A suicide bomber killed 13 people at Shi'ite processions in the city where Pakistan's army is headquartered on Wednesday night, highlighting the country's security challenges a day before it hosts leaders from Egypt, Iran and other developing nations.

Local television stations said 13 people were killed but police put the death toll at eight. Twenty-five people were wounded, including children.

The blast ripped a hole in the walls of a Shi'ite mosque in the city of Rawalpindi, near the capital Islamabad. Body parts were scattered at the scene.

Hundreds of worshippers, beating their heads and chests, kept marching, even though other explosive devices were found at the site.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attack which occurred hours after two bomb blasts killed at least three people near a gathering of Shi'ites in Pakistan's commercial hub and biggest city Karachi.

Hardline Sunni militant groups linked to al Qaeda have in recent months stepped up attacks against Pakistan's minority Shi'ites, whom they regard as non-Muslims.

Pakistan's military, one of the world's biggest, has failed to break the back of a persistent insurgency despite launching several offensives against their strongholds in the northwest near the border with Afghanistan.

Pakistan hosts a summit of eight developing nations on Thursday. Pakistan, Iran, Egypt, Turkey, Indonesia, Malaysia, Nigeria and Bangladesh are expected to discuss ways of boosting trade and investment at an event which Islamabad hopes will improve its standing. Some presidents have already arrived.   Continued...