22 killed as 'suicide bomber' hits Muharram procession in Pakistan

Islamabad: At least 22 people, including five children, were killed and dozens injured when a "suicide" bomber targeted a Muharram procession in Pakistan's Sindh province on Friday night, media reported.

The dead and critically injured were shifted to Larkana hospital, where an emergency had been declared, Dawn TV reported.

Police confirmed that over 40 people, including several children and women, were injured in the attack.

Malik Zafar Iqbal Awan, local police officer, claimed that “the police have recovered lower part of the body of the possible suicide bomber from the site”.

The medical superintendent of the civil hospital, where the injured people were shifted, said the death toll was expected to rise as at least 15 among those injured were in critical condition.

Following the blast, a group of angry protestors stormed the office of the Deputy Superintendent of Police accusing the law enforcement agencies of providing inadequate security to the procession.

No group has claimed responsibility for the attack yet.

The blast targeted mourners taking part in the Muharram procession at Lashari Mohalla and caused injuries to a large number of people.

Earlier, at least 10 people were killed on Thursday, when a suicide bomber exploded outside a Shia mosque in Bolan area of Balochistan province.

The attack was the second deadliest bombing on a Shia congregation after 61 people were killed and at least another 60 injured in a bomb explosion in an Imambargah in upper Sindh district of Shikarpur on January 30, 2015.

Security personnel cordoned off the area, while a search and rescue operation was carried out.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and President Mamnoon Hussain condemned the blast and directed hospital authorities to provide best possible medical treatment to the injured.

Sectarian violence has claimed thousands of lives in the country over the past decade.

The Sindh government had already imposed a ban on pillion riding in Karachi, Hyderabad, Sukkur and Larkana.

Moreover, cell phone services have also been suspended in major cities, including Karachi, as a security measure during the observance of Muharram.

The gatherings and processions during Muharram mark Hazrat Hussein's martyrdom in the Battle of Karbala, Iraq, in 680 AD.

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