SUKKUR / KARACHI / ISLAMABAD: At least 10 people, including four policemen, were injured as a suicide bomber blew himself up during Eidul Azha prayers in an Imambargah at Shikarpur district’s Khanpur tehsil on Tuesday.
Officials said two suicide bombers tried to enter the Khanpur Imambargah but were intercepted by police. “Four of our men are injured of whom one is critical,” Umar Tufail, a senior police officer said.
Tufail added doctors were also trying to save the life of the other suspected bomber, who was injured when the first one blew himself up but failed to detonate himself.
“The attackers came as the worshippers were gathering to offer Eid prayers. Police were able to stop him at the gate outside the mosque,” IG Sindh AD Khawaja said. Worshippers overpowered the second would-be suicide bomber as the police were reeling from their injuries.”
Police and rescue officials reached the site of the blast and the injured were shifted to hospitals.
The blast came at a time when the nation is celebrating Eidul Azha to commemorate the supreme sacrifice of Prophet Ibrahim (AS). Officials had earlier claimed to have taken stringent security measures to tackle any untoward incident.
Last year, at least 61 people had been killed and 50 others injured in an explosion at a Shikarpur Imambargah during Friday prayers.
Police said the devastating explosion was a suicide attack and the bomber detonated the explosives strapped to his body “in the middle of the mosque”.
Pakistan has been hit by frequent sectarian violence in recent years, most of it perpetrated by hardline Sunni Muslim groups against minority Shia Muslims, who make up around one in five of the population. The January 2015 attack on the Shias in Shikarpur, blamed on the Sunni militant Lashkar-e-Jhangvi group, led to a wave of nationwide protests.
TTP claims responsibility
A breakaway faction of the proscribed militant organisation Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) claimed responsibility for the Tuesday’s attack. “We had planned the attack,” the group’s spokesperson Ihsanullah Ihsan said in a phone call to the media including The Express Tribune.