PARACHINAR: At least 25 people were killed and 62 injured on Sunday when a device containing about 35 kilograms of explosives ripped through a makeshift market in Parachinar town of Kurram tribal region, residents and hospital sources said.
Officials said that the device kept in a sack exploded when a large number of people were buying second-hand clothes.
A huge pall of black smoke and dust enveloped the entire area after the blast. According to witnesses, pieces of human flesh lay scattered everywhere.
Israr Hussain, head of the bomb disposal squad, told reporters that 35 to 40 kilograms of explosives had been used in the device.
In a rather unusual development, two militant groups claimed responsibility for the attack, with one of them saying the target was the Shia community.
The groups identified themselves as Lashkar-i-Jhangvi Al Alami and Ansarul Mujahideen based in South Waziristan Agency.
A statement released to a foreign media channel and attributed to the spokesman for the Jhangvi group, Ali bin Sufian, said the attack had been carried out against the Shia elements who were supporting Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and the Iranian government. “We warn … parents that if they don’t stop their children from ongoing (sic) conflict in Syria they should remain prepared for more such attacks,” Sufian said.
Officials confirmed 19 deaths, but they said they feared the death toll could rise because many of the wounded were in critical condition. One of the officials said that 62 wounded had been brought to the agency headquarters hospital in the town.
In a statement issued in Peshawar, the ISPR said that 23 seriously wounded people had been airlifted by two helicopters.
Rescue 1122 said that 17 of the injured had been shifted to CMH Peshawar.
A family from Zeran Village near Parachinar lost four members — the father and three sons. They were in the market when the blast occurred.
Several people died on the spot and many others were declared dead on their arrival at the hospital.
Security forces cordoned off the area after the explosion which also damaged a number of vehicles.
Parachinar with a population of more than 50,000 has been under strict security arrangements for quite some time. Personnel of army and paramilitary Levies have set up checkpoints on all routes leading to the town and visitors and vehicles go through extensive search and identification process.
Despite that terrorists managed to carry a heavy explosive device to the market.
Elders declared three days of mourning for those who lost their lives. Political Agent Amjad Ali Khan announced a compensation of Rs300,000 for the heirs of each dead and Rs100,000 for each wounded.
Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Governor Sardar Mahtab Ahmad Khan, Awami National Party president Asfandyar Wali Khan and Speaker KP Assembly Asad Qaisar condemned the act of terrorism and expressed solidarity with the affected families.
Sardar Mahtab directed the political administration of Kurram and the officials concerned in Peshawar to provide adequate treatment to the injured. He also asked the political administration to investigate the incident and take more effective steps to avert such incidents in future. -Dawn
THE PASHTUN TIMES