Peshawar, Jul 27: At least 40 people were killed when twin suicide bombings ripped through a town in northwest Pakistan's restive tribal belt yesterday in a sudden surge in violence against the minority Shia community.
State-run Radio Pakistan said that at least 40 people were killed and over 100 injured in the bombings which occurred in a span of a few minutes in the central market of Parachinar town in Kurram Agency, one of seven tribal districts where Taliban militants are fighting government forces.
An intelligence official said that both attackers used explosive-rigged motorbikes in the attacks to cause maximum damage.
Abu Baseer, a purported spokesman of Ansarul Mujahideen militant group, claimed responsibility for the attacks in a message to the media.
“Shias are enemies of Islam and we will continue to attack them,” Baseer said.
The first explosion went off in a busy market and it was was followed by another on School Road in Parachinar. Both blasts occurred near Shia mosques, witnesses said.
The injured were taken to nearby hospitals and officials said several of them were in a serious condition.
Some sources said that the bombs used a timed device to detonate, and could be heard from most parts of the agency.
Several cars and shops were also destroyed in the blasts.
Earlier in the day, two members of the Shia community were killed and six more injured when a pick-up truck hit a landmine near Khar Pata area of Kurram Agency.
Hundreds of people have died over the past few years in clashes between rival Shia and Sunni tribesmen in Kurram Agency, located near the Afghan border.
Unlike other semi-autonomous tribal regions in northwest Pakistan, Shias are in a majority in Kurram Agency.
Sporadic incidents of violence have rocked the region despite a fragile accord between the rival tribesmen.
Shia Muslims constitute about 20 per cent of Pakistan's population of over 180 million people, a majority of whom follow Sunni Islam.