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Two killed after Shi'ite procession in Pak

Thirteen policemen and a civilian were also wounded in the attack in Hangu, in North West Frontier Province.

india Updated: Jan 30, 2007 11:14 IST

Rocket and mortar fire killed at least two people in Pakistan on Tuesday as a Shi'ite religious procession dispersed, in a town known for sectarian violence, police and hospital officials said.

Thirteen policemen and a civilian were also wounded in the attack in Hangu, in North West Frontier Province, where a year ago 40 people were killed by a suicide bomber during an Ashura procession, the climax of the Islamic holy month of Muharram for followers of the Shi'ite sect.

Senior administrator Fakkahar-e-Alam said the Shi'ites came under fire as this year's Ashura procession dispersed.

"Curfew has been enforced in the city and there will be no more processions today," Alam said.

A senior police official, Mohammad Sharif, said the two people killed were Afghan refugees.

On the tenth day of Muharram, known as Ashura, Shi'ites beat themselves with sharpened chains during processions to mourn the anniversary of the death of Imam Hussein, a grandson of the Prophet, during a battle in Kerbala, a city in modern-day Iraq, in 680 A.D.

There has been a spate of sectarian attacks in the days leading up to this year's Ashura that culminates on Tuesday.

On Monday, a suicide bomber killed himself and two others in another northwestern town of Dera Ismail Khan, the third suicide attack in days.

Also on Monday, two rockets struck close to a Shi'ite religious center in the northwestern town of Bannu wounding 13 people.

On Friday, a sucide bomber killed himself and a guard outside the Marriott hotel in Islamabad.

And on Saturday, a sucide bomber killed 15 people, including a city police in the northwestern city of Peshawar, shortly before the Shi'ite mourners were to begin a procession.

Thousands of people have been killed in sectarian violence in Pakistan since the 1980s due to feuding Sunni and Shi'ite extremist groups.

Shi'ites make up around 15 per cent of the mostly Sunni Muslim nation.

First Published: Jan 30, 2007 11:14 IST