SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) – On Wednesday night a suicide bomber attacked a Shia Muslims procession in northern city of Rawalpindi in Pakistan. The procession was to commemorate the Grandson of Prophet of Islam, Imam Hussain (AS) who was martyred in Karbala with his followers in the holy month of Moharram. According to the local media, the death toll so far is 23 dead and 53 injured. The attack happened at 11:33 p.m. local time when a suicide bomber blew himself up in a Shiite Muslims procession.
Local Urdu TV channel Dunya reported that three more people died to their injuries at hospital on Thursday morning, bringing the death toll to 23. Police said that the head of the bomber, aged between 20 to 25, has been sent to the District Headquarters Hospital for DNA test. Maulana Ameen Shaheedi, leader of Punjab Shia organization along with other witnesses said that the police failed to provide adequate security to the procession, allowing the suicide bomber to sneak into the procession. They told reporters that only a few policemen were deployed, and they fled the scene after the blast happened.
Azhar Hameed, the city police chief, denied the allegation, saying that the bomber blew himself up when a policeman stopped him at a security checkpoint. Police also recovered a hand grenade from the blast site. The bomb disposal squad said that the bomber was carrying five to six kilograms of explosive material in his jacket. Pakistan Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack. Ehsan-Ullah-Ehsan, the spokesperson of Pakistani Taliban, told local media by phone that they sent their well-trained suicide bomber to target the Shia procession in Rawalpindi. Security has been strengthened in the city following the blast and additional police has been deployed to all the processions of Moharram in Rawalpindi on Thursday afternoon and night. www.shafaqna.com/english