A suicide bomber blew himself up among worshippers streaming toward a Shi'ite Muslim mosque in central Pakistan on Thursday, killing 24 people and wounding dozens more.
The attack in the city of Dera Ghazi Khan risks sparking sectarian fury in a country already battling rising terrorism along the Afghan border and tension with India over the Mumbai terrorist attacks.
The bomb detonated as a crowd approached the mosque for an evening prayer ceremony. Television footage showed bystanders and emergency workers trying frantically to help victims lying in the darkened street.
Athar Mubarak, the city police chief, said the bomb contained metal balls and nails. As well as the 24 dead, another 40 people were wounded, he said.