Officials in northwestern Pakistan say a bomb blast ripped through a busy clothing market Sunday, killing at least 23 people and wounding about 55 others.
The explosion happened in Parachinar, the administrative center of the semi-autonomous Kurram tribal district on the Afghan border.
Amjad Ali Khan, the political administrator of Kurram told the French news agency, AFP, "the bomb had been hidden in a bag left at the market."
Outlawed Sunni Muslim extremist organization, Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, claimed the bombing in the predominently Shi’ite Muslim region. The group is notorious for launching deadly attacks against the Pakistani minority community.
In a message sent to Pakistani media, a spokesman for the group said Sunday's bombing was carried out to punish the Shi’ites for taking sides with Iran and Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. The authenticity of the claim is difficult to ascertain.
Pakistani men gather beside the bodies of victims of a bomb explosion at a market in Parachinar, the capital of Kurram tribal district, Dec. 13, 2015.
The tribal region has been the site of violence from Islamic militants and sectarian conflict between Sunni and Shi'ite Muslims.
VOA's Ayaz Gul contributed to this report from Islamabad.