Twin suicide attacks kill 41 in NW Pakistan: officials
Twin suicide attacks rocked a busy marketplace in northwest Pakistan Friday killing at least 41 people and injuring more than 150 others, officials said, in the deadliest attack to hit the country during the Islamic holy month of Ramadan.
The explosions at the bazaar in Parachinar, the main town of Kurram tribal district on the Pakistan-Afghanistan border, sent handcarts flying as shoppers bought food to open their fasts at sunset.
Doctors at the main public hospital in the town said 41 people were killed, and 20 critically wounded among the more than 150 injured.
"We can confirm the death of 41 people in the twin blasts. More than 150 others have been injured in the attack," doctor Sabir Hussein, head of the hospital, told AFP.
"We have sent 20 critically wounded people to major hospitals in Peshawar and Kohat to save their lives," he added.
Parachinar administration officials said both blasts were carried out by suicide bombers.
"There were two blasts in the main bazaar of Parachinar. These were carried out by two suicide bombers who walked into the crowded market," Riaz Mehsud, a senior administration official, told AFP.
Mehsud said the market was packed with people and that handcarts were sent flying after the blasts, which also damaged up to 15 shops and two cars.
"We found many body parts, including parts of the suicide bombers. There was blood and human flesh at the blasts site," he said.
The area where the bombers struck is mainly inhabited by minority Shiite Muslims but officials said they could not immediately identify the victims.
"Many bodies can't be identified because they have been mutilated very badly," Salahuddin, a health technician at the hospital, told AFP.
He said lists of the dead and injured were being drafted and that the number of casualties could rise.
"I fear that the number of the dead and wounded people from this attack may rise," Salahuddin said.
Kurram is frequently the scene of sectarian violence between Pakistan's Sunni Muslim majority and Shiite minority.
On Wednesday, suicide gunmen and car bombers attacked a government complex housing offices of Pakistan's top intelligence agency, sparking a shootout that killed nine people.
The country is battling a Taliban-led domestic insurgency that has killed thousands of civilians and security personnel since 2007.
Pakistani troops have been fighting for years against homegrown insurgents in the tribal belt, which Washington considers the main hub of Taliban and Al-Qaeda militants plotting attacks on the West and in Afghanistan.