Islamabad: Two near-simultaneous terror strikes on Sunday targeted Shia religious gatherings in Karachi and Muzaffarabad, killing at least 10 people and injuring nearly 100.
A suicide bomber detonated his explosives when police guards prevented him from entering the Pir Alam Shah Bukhari ‘imambargah’ or Shia prayer hall in Muzaffarabad, the capital of Pakistan occupied Kashmir.
Provincial Minister Ghulam Murtaza Gillani said 10 people were killed in the attack and eighty people, including some policemen, were injured.
The 'imambargah' is located in a high-security area near a military hospital, where the injured were taken. Witnesses said they had seen the body parts of the bomber at the site.
Scores of people were present in the imambargah, one of the largest Shia prayer halls in Muzaffarabad, to mark the Islamic month of Muharram. The army cordoned off the area soon after the attack.
In Karachi, 20 people were injured when a bomb went off near a Shia procession in Qasba Colony. Police described the blast as a low intensity explosion.
Ambulances rushed the injured to nearby hospitals. Police and paramilitary Pakistan Rangers cordoned off the area.
The explosion was followed by gunshots in the area, TV news channels reported. However, it was not clear who had opened fire.
People also protested against the police for failing to protect the procession and burnt cars. Karachi police chief Waseem Ahmed said the nature of the blast was yet to be determined. Both attacks occurred almost simultaneously shortly before 7 pm.
Karachi has not been affected by a recent wave of bombings and suicide attacks that has killed over 500 people across Pakistan. However, the port city has often witnessed sectarian violence during Muharram, which is a period of mourning for the minority Shia community.
Nineteen people were injured when a car bomb went off near a Shia procession in Karachi on Saturday night.