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January 24, 2011

Twin Bomb Blasts Kill 14 In Pakistan

Twin bomb blasts targeting Pakistan's minority Shi'ite Muslim community have rocked the cities of Lahore and Karachi, killing at least 14 people and injuring more than 50.  

Officials say the attack in Lahore was carried out by a teenage suicide bomber.  They say he blew himself up at a police checkpoint on the outskirts of a Shi'ite religious procession, where thousands of people were gathered.  Several of the 13 victims were said to be police officers.

The Pakistani Taliban have claimed responsibility for the attack, calling it retaliation for military operations and U.S. drone attacks in northwest Pakistan.

In the southern city of Karachi, a bomb planted on a motorcycle blew up Tuesday evening, killing at least one person and wounding at least two others in a crowded lower-income neighborhood.  The blast took place as a Shi'ite religious procession took place nearby.  

Thousands of Shi'ite worshippers gathered across Pakistan Tuesday to mark the end  of a 40-day mourning period for the Prophet Mohammad's grandson, Imam Hussein.

A reporter on the scene for Express TV network said the head of the suicide bomber was found at the scene of the Lahore attack.  It also said police have arrested a suspected accomplice.

Video footage showed ambulances carrying victims away from the scene as security officials cleared out the area and halted the religious gathering.

Militants linked to al-Qaeda and the Taliban have claimed responsibility for a wave of attacks across Pakistan. Security officials and the U.S.-backed Pakistani government have been the target of several attacks.

Sectarian violence between Sunnis and the Shi'ite minority also continues to be a threat across the country.