PESHAWAR: A senior police official was suspended hours after a bomb exploded inside a closed shop, leaving five Shias dead and scores injured in Dera Ismail Khan on the occasion of Ashura,
a provincial minister confirmed.

“Five people were killed and 83 injured in the bomb blast,” Shafeerullah Khan, a senior government official in Peshawar told AFP.

It was the second such attack on Ashura processions in the city in as many days. In a previous blast on Saturday, eight persons, including six children, were killed.

Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Information Minister Mian Iftikhar Hussain told the media his government did everything humanely possible to see off the last day of Ashura peacefully.

Some 70 people, including children, were injured and were shifted to government hospital, while scarcity of ambulances forced the Shia community to use own transport for rushing the wounded to hospital.

The DSP was suspended after protesting Shias accused him of “negligence” in clearing the routes of Ashura processions. Initial investigation revealed the bomb was planted in a closed shop and local police were searching for its owner.

“The bomb was detonated via a time device,” Hussain said. “It was a remote-controlled bomb and exploded as a procession reached here,” Nazir Khan, a police official in Dera Ismail Khan, said.

DI Khan DIG Qazi Jamil said he was investigating the claims mobile service was available in the area where the blast took place. “Some witness account says mobile phone signals were available in that place. We are probing these claims.”

Military soldiers were soon deployed on the streets of Dera city after the blast, said local residents. “The city is tense calm,” they said by email as mobile phone service was suspended in many districts of KP, including Peshawar.

A spokesman for the Pakistani Taliban claimed responsibility for the bombing and threatened more attacks.

“It was a suicide attack and we claim responsibility for it,” Ehsanullah Ehsan told AFP by telephone from an undisclosed location. He repeated his threat made on Saturday that the Taliban had dispatched more suicide bombers across the country for attacks against the minority community.

“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 Shia community and security forces,” he added.

“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.”

 

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