Blast in northwest kills no fewer than 5, wounds dozens

In February, more than 70 people were killed and dozens wounded in an attack on a crowded Sufi shrine in southern Pakistan.

Pakistanis gather at the site of a bomb blast at a market in Parachinar, capital of the Kurram tribal district, on March 31, 2017

There was no immediate claim of responsibility but the blast, which occurred as people gathered for Friday prayers near the women’s entrance of a Shia mosque in the central bazaar, follows a series of attacks this year.

A parliamentarian from Parachinar, in the remote northwestern tribal region bordering Afghanistan, Sajid Hussain, said it was a suicide attack and was preceded by gunfire.

“The attack took place in a busy area and a women’s mosque appears to be the target,” he said.

Mumtaz Hussain, a doctor at the local Agency Headquarters Hospital, said five bodies, including a woman and two children, and more than three dozen wounded had been brought to the hospital and an appeal had been issued for blood donors.

“Patients are being brought to us in private cars and ambulances and we have received over three dozen patients so far,” Hussain told Reuters.

The attacks have shattered hopes that Pakistan may have come through the militant violence that had scarred its recent history and increased pressure on Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s government to show it was improving security.

Parachinar is the capital of the Kurram tribal region, where Pakistani security forces have battled militant groups for years.

In January, at least 21 people were killed when an explosion hit a vegetable market in Parachinar itself.

Authorities in mainly Sunni-Muslim Pakistan said rescue helicopters had been sent to the scene.

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