PARACHINAR: Hours after a deadly suicide car bombing in Quetta, two back-to-back blasts ripped through one of the busiest neighbourhoods in Parachinar, the main town of Kurram tribal agency, on Friday, killing at least 34 people and injuring more than 125 others.
Officials feared the death toll might go up, as the Agency Headquarters Hospital struggled to treat such a large number of injured people.
The first blast took place around 5 in the evening in Turi Market, located on the edge of the recently-designated Red Zone, said a senior administration official. The second explosion went off as rescuers and bystanders rushed to help the survivors of the first blast.
Some reports say a procession held in connection with Al-Quds Day was the target. “A rally was held in connection with Al-Quds Day immediately after Friday prayers,” the official said. “However, the procession culminated at the main Imambargah after passing through its traditional route.”
Participants then walked to the market to shop food items for Iftar when the first explosion took place, the official said.
“The explosive device was planted in the market,” the official added. “As rescuers and bystanders rushed to help the casualties, a suicide bomber detonated the explosives strapped to his body, causing maximum casualties.”
The account account was corroborated by local lawmaker Sajid Hussain Turi. “People who were busy shopping for Iftar rushed to the blast site,” he told The Express Tribune. “And minutes later a second explosion went off which caused the maximum casualties,” he said.
A tribal elder told The Express Tribune by phone that 34 bodies had been brought to the Central Imambargah. “The hospital is strewn with body parts,” eyewitness Ali Hussain said. “It is difficult to figure out how many people have actually died.”
Soon after the blasts security personnel rushed to the site and cordoned off the area. The injured were rushed to the hospital.
The military’s media wing ISPR said two helicopters rushed to Parachinar and airlifted 15 critically injured to Peshawar.
ISPR Director-General Maj-Gen Asif Ghafoor tweeted that “Security/surv of Pak-Afg Bdr enhanced. Stringent actions agst illegal Bdr crossers. Recent terrorist incidents linked to sanctuaries across.”
Angry protestors ransacked the Parachinar Press Club and severely injured five journalists. The police resorted to aerial firing to disperse the protesters.
This was the third major bomb attack in the Kurram tribal agency this year. Stringent security measures had been adopted after the first two incidents in which 58 people had died and more than 250 injured.