24 killed, 35 injured in Pakistan mosque bombing (Fifth Lead)

April 5th, 2009 - 9:04 pm ICT by IANS  

Taliban Islamabad, April 5 (IANS) At least 24 people, including four children, were killed and 35 others injured Sunday when a suicide bomber blew himself up at the entrance of a Shia mosque in Pakistan’s Punjab province.
The blast occurred at the Imambargah (Mosque) in the Mohala Sarpak area in Chakwal town, where a large number of devotees gathered to offer special prayers on the occasion of the annual Majlis Aza.

Eyewitnesses said the devotees were at the main gate, waiting to go back to their respective places after prayers, when the bomb exploded.

At least 24 people, including four children, were killed in the powerful explosion. Several vehicles parked near the mosque were damaged, the Geo TV reported.

The report citing eyewitnesses said the suicide bomber was about 17 years old.

Twenty people died on the spot, while four others died in hospitals. Blood stained bodies were found strewn all across the place, it said.

The injured and the bodies were shifted to Chakwal District Headquarter Hospital and in medical centres in Rawalpindi.

People have rushed to hospitals to finding out the welfare of their injured relatives.

Meanwhile, the police have cordoned off the blast site for investigation.

Pakistan has a long history of sectarian attacks mostly against Shia Muslims by Sunni extremist groups, which have joined hands with Taliban and Al Qaeda militants based in country’s lawless tribal region near Afghan border.

DPA said the Chakwal attack could be a part of a new wave of attacks by Taliban, who have threatened to step up strikes inside Pakistan till the government stops the US from carrying out drone attacks in tribal belt.

The Taliban accuse Islamabad, a key US ally in the international fight against terrorism, of providing assistance to US forces for these air strikes.

On Sunday, a suicide bomber targeted paramilitary troops deployed in Islamabad’s upmarket neighbourhood where several embassies, UN offices and residences of foreign diplomats are located. Eight soldiers and a civilian died and 12 others were injured.

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