Explosion kills 18 during Pakistan religious procession

January 15, 2012 13:11

MULTAN, Pakistan - An explosion on Sunday near a Shi'ite Muslim procession in the central Pakistani town of Khanpur killed 18 people and wounded at least 30, police and emergency services officials said. Police were unsure if the blast was a bomb or not.

"We are investigating to see if this was a bombing or an accident. Our teams are on the spot but we cannot confirm a bombing yet," a senior police official told Reuters.

The processions of Shi'ite Muslims, who make up about 20 percent of Pakistan's population, are often attacked by militant Sunni Muslim groups who consider them apostates of Islam.

Sunday's procession was in observance of Arbain, or Chehlum, one of the main religious observances in the Shi'ite calendar.

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