Suicide blast kills 20 at Pakistan Shiite funeral

At least 28 people were killed and nearly 160 injured on Friday when a suicide bomber blew himself up in the funeral procession of a Shia cleric in the northwestern Pakistani city of Dera Ismail Khan, sparking angry protests which prompted authorities to impose curfew.
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Published on Feb 20, 2009 05:47 PM IST
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PTI | By, Islamabad

At least 28 people were killed and nearly 160 injured on Friday when a suicide bomber blew himself up in the funeral procession of a Shia cleric in the northwestern Pakistani city of Dera Ismail Khan, sparking angry protests which prompted authorities to impose curfew.

The suicide bomber struck the 1,500-strong funeral procession of cleric Sher Zaman, who was killed by unidentified gunmen yesterday and the blast created mayhem throwing bodies up in the air.

The city, located close to the Taliban-infested Waziristan district, has been the scene of rising sectarian violence with at least six attacks reported in the past few months.

District police chief Mohammad Iqbal told reporters that 28 people were killed and 157 injured in the powerful blast. Though the procession had security cover, the bomber emerged from a crowded bus terminal on the route of the procession and blew himself up, he said.

No group claimed responsibility for the blast. Officials said the attack could be linked to sectarian rivalries.

The attack sparked angry protests by some of the 1,500 people who were in the procession. They went on the rampage, firing in the air and burning a bus and several other vehicles, forcing the authorities to clamp curfew on the town and call military forces for assistance.

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