Suicide bomber kills at least 15 in Pakistan
By ASSOCIATED PRESS
Published January 28, 2007
PESHAWAR, Pakistan - A suicide attacker detonated a bomb among police on guard near a Shiite Muslim mosque in this northwestern Pakistani city Saturday, killing at least 15 people and wounding more than 30, police said.
The attack came as Pakistan's minority Shiites started to commemorate their most important religious festival, Ashura, often a target of sectarian violence. Paramilitary forces in armored vehicles were deployed to patrol Peshawar after the bombing.
The blast went off in a bazaar area about 200 yards from a mosque that was the starting point for the Shiite procession. .
Police official Aziz Khan said 15 people were killed and more than 30 wounded. Most of the victims were police and municipal officials who were clearing the route for the Shiite procession. The city's police chief, Malik Saab, was among the dead, said the provincial police chief, Sharif Virk.
There was no immediate claim of responsibility, but suspicion will likely fall on Sunni extremists.
Most Shiites and Sunnis in Pakistan coexist peacefully, but militant groups on both sides are blamed for sectarian attacks that claim scores of lives every year. Shiites represent about 20 percent of Pakistan's Muslims, and Sunnis about 80 percent.
President Gen. Pervez Musharraf, a key U.S. ally in fighting al-Qaida, condemned the "terrorist attack" and ordered an immediate inquiry, the state-run Associated Press of Pakistan reported.
The attack happened as a U.S. congressional delegation, led by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, visited Islamabad, about 90 miles from Peshawar. The lawmakers met with Musharraf.
[Last modified January 28, 2007, 00:43:57]
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