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Bombing of Pakistan Religious Procession Kills 33, Injures 250

Pakistani officials say the number of people killed in a triple bombing of a Shi'ite religious procession has risen to 33, with another 250 wounded.

The bombings Wednesday in the northeastern city of Lahore targeted thousands of Shi'ites taking part in a street procession to mourn the martyrdom of caliph Ali, the son-in-law of the Prophet Muhammad. It was the first major attack in Pakistan since the country was hit by huge floods more than a month ago.

Officials said the Lahore attack began with the detonation of a small bomb, which caused panic among the marchers. Minutes later, they said two suicide bombers blew themselves up in quick succession at different points in the procession.

Enraged Shi'ite marchers responded by assaulting Pakistani police for perceived security failings. A mob also set fire to a police station and vehicles.

Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari condemned the bombings as a cowardly act of terrorism and said the culprits will not escape the law. Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani said terrorists are promoting their own agenda while the nation is distressed with the suffering of flood victims.

Sunni militants, who see Shi'ites as heretics, have attacked members of Pakistan's Shi'ite minority repeatedly in recent years.

In another development, Pakistan's military launched air raids Tuesday and Wednesday on suspected militant hideouts in the northwestern tribal region of Khyber. Authorities said the strikes killed at least 60 people, including some women and children.

Officials accused the militants of using relatives as human shields. Khyber is a key route for U.S. and NATO convoys carrying supplies to coalition troops in neighboring Afghanistan.

Some information for this report was provided by AP and AFP.