Pakistani government and security officials offer prayers during funeral for security personnel killed in a powerful explosion targeting a police vehicle, in Quetta on June 23, 2017. An explosion in Pakistan’s southwestern Quetta city on June 23 killed at least 13 people and injured around 20 others, officials said. The blast, in front of the office of the Quetta police chief, was claimed by both the local affiliate of the Islamic State group and by Jamaat-ul-Ahrar (JuA), an offshoot of the Pakistani Taliban, according to the SITE monitoring group. / AFP PHOTO / BANARAS KHAN
At least 11 people were killed and 24 wounded on Friday when twin blasts tore through a market crowded with shoppers preparing for the Eid holidays in a mainly Shiite area of Pakistan’s tribal belt.
The first blast came during rush hour in the market in Parachinar, capital of Kurram tribal district, local official Nasrullah Khan told AFP.
“When people rushed to the site… to rescue the wounded, a second blast took place,” he said. A second official confirmed the explosions and toll.
“We fear that the death toll will increase,” Khan said, adding that no further details were available yet.
The twin attacks followed a bombing earlier in the day outside the office of the police chief in southwestern Quetta, capital of the insurgency-wracked Balochistan province, that killed at least 13 people.
That attack was claimed by both the Islamic State and an offshoot of the Pakistani Taliban.
The blasts in Parachinar came on the final Friday of the fasting month of Ramadan, just days ahead of Eid-ul-Fitr, one of Islam’s holiest festivals.
The third major attack to rock Parachinar this year, the blasts struck hours before iftar, when the streets are often crowded with people shopping for food to break their fast with the evening Ramadan meal.
Kurram is one of Pakistan’s seven semi-autonomous tribal districts which are governed according to local laws and customs.
The district is known for sectarian clashes between Sunnis and Shiites, who make up roughly 20 percent of Pakistan’s population of 200 million.