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Suicide Bomber Kills 10 Shi'ite Worshipers in Pakistan

  • Ayaz Gul

Pakistani police guard a Shi'ite procession during Muharram in Peshawar, Pakistan, Oct. 22, 2015.

Pakistani police guard a Shi'ite procession during Muharram in Peshawar, Pakistan, Oct. 22, 2015.

Officials in Pakistan say a suicide bomber killed at least 10 Shi'ite Muslims and wounded many others in a remote southwestern region. The violence occurred in Blolan district of Baluchistan province.

Provincial home minister Sarfraz Bugti says the bomber, wearing a burqa, entered and blew himself up in a crowded mosque where members of the minority community had gathered as part of a 10-day annual ritual called Ashoura to commemorate the death of Imam Hussein, the grandson of the Prophet Muhammad.

There were no immediate claims of responsibility.

Security is usually tightened around Pakistan ahead of Ashoura to deter Sunni Muslim extremists from attacking the Shi'ite gatherings and processions.

The sectarian rivalry has left thousands of people dead in Pakistan in recent years.

Earlier this week a powerful bomb ripped through a passenger bus in the provincial capital, Quetta. That attack killed at least 10 people.

A low-level separatist insurgency has plagued Baluchistan for years. Extremist groups linked to al-Qaida and the Afghan Taliban also allegedly operate in the area.

Separately, Pakistan’s military said that at least 21 militants were killed in overnight airstrikes in the Khyber tribal district on the Afghan border.

It also reported a missile strike by a locally-built drone - called the Burraq - Thursday night against “terrorist hideouts” in South Waziristan, another volatile tribal region near the border with Afghanistan. The army says the attack killed “many terrorists” but gave no figures.

The violence took place on a day when Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif met with President Barack Obama at the White House to discuss, among other issues, his country’s counterterrorism efforts.