At least 25 people were killed and 65 others sustained serious injuries on Friday in a powerful bomb blast at a crowded market outside a Shiite imambargah in Pakistan's restive northwest tribal region. The Pakistani Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack.
A car bomb went off near the main gate of the imambargah in the central bazar of Parachinar, Kurram Agency where a large number of people were shopping for fruits and vegetables.
The condition of the majority of those injured was stated to be critical. Of those critically wounded, 27 were airlifted to Peshawar hospitals.
Scores of vehicles were also damaged in the blast. An eyewitness told The Express Tribune that security personnel at the Imambargah were busy checking devotees at the central Imambargah's entrance for women, when an unidentified person parked a car next to the building which exploded.
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Jamaat-ul-Ahrar, a breakaway faction of the Pakistani Taliban, claimed responsibility for the attack. Security forces cordoned off the area while emergency services were dispatched to the site.
The administration has declared an emergency at all hospitals in the area. An Army medical evacuation helicopter has also been flown to Parachinar for evacuation of the injured, an Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) statement said.
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif expressed grief over the blast and condemned the attack. "It is our responsibility to continue the war against terrorists," he said.
Sharif reiterated his government's resolve to eliminate the menace of terrorism from the country at all costs. "The network of terrorists has already been broken and it is our national duty to continue this war until the complete annihilation of the scourge of terrorism from our soil," he said.
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The Prime Minister directed the relevant authorities to extend all possible assistance to the local administration.
Interior minister Chaudhry Nisar ordered an inquiry into the blast. Pakistan has been rocked by a slew of terror attacks that have claimed scores of lives. A wave of suicide attacks across Pakistan last month, including one in Lahore and another on the Lal Shahbaz Qalandar shrine in Sindh, killed more than 125 people and wounded over 300 others.
Pakistani forces retaliated with a crackdown, killing dozens of terrorists and hitting militant hideouts along the border with Afghanistan. Pakistan army also launched a nationwide military operation 'Radd-ul-Fasaad' to eliminate terrorists and consolidate gains of its counter-terrorism operations.