PESHAWAR: Eight people, including six children, were killed in what a senior police official said was a remote-controlled blast targeting Shias taking out a Muharram procession in Dera Ismail Khan on Saturday.Thirty others, including policemen, were injured in the blast, the police official, Jamilur Rehman, told journalists at the site of the blast, where Interior Minister Rehman Malik had said mobile phone service had not been suspended.

“It was a remote-controlled blast,” Rehman said, adding security was stepped up and army was also called in to assist the civil administration.The blast took place near an imambargah at Bannu Chunghi area where sectarian violence has taken lives of hundreds of people.The Bomb Disposal Squad claimed the bomb weighed between eight to 10 kilogrammes.Police said a 10-kilogramme bomb packed with ball bearings was hidden in a dustbin on the procession route and its powerful blast could be heard several kilometres away.

Seven people, including four children, died soon after the blast and a man died later from his wounds in hospital, hospital officials told AFP.“Two are still in critical condition,” said doctor Azhar Ali, deputy chief of Nishtar Hospital in Multan.City police chief Khalid Suhail said the dead children were aged between six and 11 years.

“They were young boys,” he said, adding two of them were brothers.The Pakistani Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack. “We carried out the attack against the Shia community,” spokesman Ehsanullah Ehsan told AFP by telephone from an undisclosed location. “The government can make whatever security arrangements it wants but it cannot stop our attacks.”The Taliban had dispatched more than 20 suicide bombers across the country for attacks on the minority community, he said.

 

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