At least 13 people were killed and dozens wounded in a car bombing at a busy market in Kurram Agency – a region mired in decades of sectarian tension.
“A white-coloured Corolla, packed with explosives, detonated in Turi Market around 2:40pm,” Political Agent Shahab Ali Shah told The Express Tribune. “It’s not clear whether it was a suicide blast or the bomb was set off remotely,” he added.
Turi Market is situated in the heart of Parachinar, the headquarters of Kurram Agency. Most shopkeepers here belong to the Pashtun Turi tribe, who are Shias by sect.
“The car detonated as a security convoy passed by,” Sahibzada Mohammad Anis, the commissioner of Kohat Division, told AFP. Intelligence officials also confirmed to AFP that the target seemed to have been the convoy.
Witnesses said that the car was driven into the market by a suspected suicide bomber.
Political Agent Shah confirmed that 13 people were killed and over 50 wounded in the blast. The Express Tribune correspondent, however, said he counted 14 bodies.
The blast destroyed over 20 shops and damaged six vehicles parked in the market. The site was littered with rubble and twisted metal.
“Mortar shells and rockets were also used in the bomb to kill maximum number of people,” an explosives expert told The Express Tribune.
The victims were all members of the Shia community. Some of them were identified as Shahid Hussain, Salman Ali, Hidayat Hussain, his young son Muhammad, Manzar Hussain, Said Gul Agha, Sharif Hussain, Syed Ishaghat Hussain, Maulana Haji Akbar Hussain and Arshad Hussain.
The injured, among them two women and as many security personnel, were shifted to hospitals in Parachinar, in neighbouring towns of Hangu and Thal.
However, medics referred those with critical wounds to the Lady Reading Hospital in Peshawar.
Residents said the blast also damaged the main electricity supply line, plunging Parachinar into darkness.
Tribal elders from the local Shia community condemned the bombing and announced three days of mourning in the city. Political Agent Shah appreciated the community for maintaining calm after the blast.
Nobody immediately claimed responsibility for the attack, but Taliban have been carrying out similar attacks in the region which has also seen sectarian violence for decades.
Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Governor Barrister Masood Kausar directed the authorities to airlift the injured to hospitals in Peshawar. He also promised compensation for the victims of deadly attack.
(With additional input from AFP)
Published in The Express Tribune, September 11th, 2012.
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