Five killed in attack on Pakistan Shi'ite gathering, 90 hurt

Sun Nov 25, 2012 6:36am EST
 
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By Saud Mehsud

DERA ISMAIL KHAN, Pakistan (Reuters) - A bomb killed at least five people and wounded 90 near a Shi'ite procession in Pakistan on Sunday, police said, as the government struggles to stop a wave of attacks by sectarian Sunni militant groups determined to wipe out the minority sect and seize power.

Sunni hardliners threatened to strike hard this weekend, an important one in the Shi'ite religious calendar, prompting authorities to halt cellphone coverage in several areas to prevent bombings triggered by remote control.

Authorities have also restricted motorcycle travel, hoping to deprive suicide bombers of one mode of transportation.

The wounded were carried away in the northwestern city of Dera Ismail Khan, where a bomb targeting Shi'ites killed at least seven people, including four children, on Saturday.

Pakistan's Taliban, who are focused on battling the state but are also allied with Sunni sectarian groups, claimed responsibility for both attacks.

"For Interior Minister of Pakistan Rehman Malik, who blocked mobile phones across the country and banned motorbikes, you can't stop our activities against the Shi'ite community and security forces," Taliban spokesman Ehsanullah Ehasan said by telephone from an undisclosed location.

"We will keep continuing our activities and this is a failure of security forces, police and army that we have made successful attacks in Dera Ismail Khan."

Past attacks during the religious event have killed large numbers of Shi'ites.   Continued...

 
A security official inspects the site of a remote control bomb blast in Dera Ismail Khan in Pakistan's northwest, November 25, 2012. REUTERS/Mustansar Baloch