Forty three people were killed on Friday in a suicide bombing targeting a Shiite Muslim rally in Pakistan’s southwest city of Quetta, the latest in a string of sectarian attacks.
Police said the bomber was among the 450-strong crowd and detonated on reaching the main square in the city, triggering chaotic scenes, with people setting fires as others fled or lay on the ground to avoid ongoing gunfire.
More than 100 people were wounded in the Quetta attack, which like triple bombings at a Shiite procession in the city of Lahore this week, bore the hallmarks of the Taliban who often attack religious minorities to destablise the Pakistan government.
The rally was being held to mark Al-Quds day, an international event staged every year by the Shiite community, opposing Israel's control of Jerusalem and showing solidarity with Palestinian Muslims.
Earlier, the Al Qaeda linked Taliban took responsibility for Wednesday's bombings in Lahore, further challenging the civilian government struggling to cope a month after devastating floods.
Aside from its battles against homegrown Taliban, Pakist
an is under intense American pressure to tackle Afghan Taliban fighters who cross the border in Pakistan's lawless tribal areas to attack US-led NATO troops.