Pakistan: 25 killed in bomb blasts targeting Shi'ites

By ASSOCIATED PRESS
September 2, 2010 06:54
1 minute read.

LAHORE, Pakistan  — Three bombs ripped through a Shi'ite Muslim religious procession in the eastern Pakistani city of Lahore on Wednesday, killing 25 people and wounding about 150 others, officials said.

The blasts were the first major attacks since Pakistan was hit by devastating floods more than a month ago. The bombs exploded at three separate sites Wednesday evening as 35,000 Shi'ites marched through the streets of Lahore in their traditional mourning procession for the caliph Ali, one of Shi'ite Islam's most respected holy men.

After the blasts, the marchers erupted in fury, setting fire to a police station, another police facility, two police cars and three motorcycles, said Zulfiqar Hameed, a senior police officer. Police lobbed tear gas canisters at the crowd and fired shots in the air to disperse the assailants, he said.

The first blast was a time bomb that exploded in the street near a well-known Shi'ite building, Hameed said. Footage of that explosion shown on Geo television showed a small blast erupting amid a crowd of people on the street followed by a large plume of smoke. Hundreds of people fled from the blast, while others rushed to carry the wounded to safety.

Minutes later, with the streets in chaos, a male suicide bomber who appeared about 18 years old tried to force his way into an area where food was being prepared for the marchers to break the traditional Ramadan fast and exploded, Hameed said. Soon after, another suicide bomber detonated himself at an intersection near the end of the procession.

Abbas Kumaili, a prominent Shi'ite scholar as well as a senator, called for three days of mourning over the attack and lashed out at the bombers.

The blasts killed 25 people and wounded about 150 others, said Sajjad Bhutta, a top local government official.


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