NEWS | Death Toll Rises to 24 in Pakistan Market Blast
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NEWS | Death Toll Rises to 24 in Pakistan Market Blast

NEWS | Death Toll Rises to 24 in Pakistan Market Blast

Image Attribute: The scene at Ground Zero of the Blast, / Source: Twitter Handle of News24

The death toll from a bomb explosion on January 21 at a market in a mainly Shi'ite area of Pakistan's northwestern tribal belt has risen to 24.

The explosion took place in Parachinar city, the capital of the Kurram tribal district on the Afghan border when the market was crowded with retailers buying fruits and vegetables from a wholesale shop, officials said.

Initially, The head of Parachinar headquarters hospital, Doctor Mumtaz told RFE/RL's Radio Mashaal that 78 people were injured in the blast. Fourteen of them are in a critical condition and have been airlifted to a hospital in Peshawar.

Naseerullah Khan, a regional official in the Kurram tribal district in Pakistan's mainly Shi'ite northwestern tribal belt, told journalists that 90 people had been wounded. Twenty-five of the injured has been transferred to a military hospital in Peshawar. 

The blast was caused by an improvised explosive device (IED) hidden in a vegetable box.

The Kurram district is known for sectarian clashes between Sunnis and Shi'a, who make up around 20 percent of Pakistan's population of 200 million.

Several militant groups have claimed responsibility for the attack in e-mails sent to Radio Mashaal.

The Hakimullah Mehsud faction of the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) extremist group claimed responsibility for the attack.

The attack was carried out "to teach a lesson to Shi'ites for their support for [Syrian President] Bashar al-Assad," a spokesman for the group was quoted as telling the AFP news agency.

Based on reporting by AFP, AP, and Reuters

Copyright (c) 2017. RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave NW, Ste 400, Washington DC 20036.