Suicide bombings ripped through two mosques in Pakistan yesterday, killing at least 57 people, including seven children, as believers marked the birthday of Prophet Mohammad, police and health officials said.
No group immediately claimed responsibility for the attacks, from which the death toll could climb, with many people seriously injured and others having been trapped beneath the wreckage.
In the first blast, in Mastung in the southwestern province of Balochistan, the bomber detonated his explosives near a police vehicle where people were gathering for a procession, senior police official Munir Ahmed said.
At least 52 people were killed, according to district health official Abdul Rasheed, including the children who were aged nine to 11. At least 58 people were injured.
A deputy superintendent of police was among those killed as he oversaw security arrangements in the area, police said.
“Nawaz Gishkori tried to stop the suicide bomber, but he blew himself up after getting close to him,” Javed Lehri, a senior police officer said.
The gathering, in which people were carrying flags and banners, was at a mosque belonging to the Barelvi sect.
The second attack, in neighbouring Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, killed five people at a mosque, according to rescue officials. The roof collapsed, broadcaster Geo News said, trapping about 30 to 40 people under the rubble.
The attack involved two explosions, one of which was at the mosque gate and the other in the compound, an official said.
l Bahrain last night strongly condemned the terrorist bombings. The Foreign Ministry stressed the kingdom’s rejection of all forms of violence, extremism and terrorism, affirming Bahrain’s solidarity with Pakistan.
The ministry expressed its sincere condolences to the government of Pakistan and its people, and to the families of the victims of this heinous act, wishing those injured a speedy recovery.