A bomb hidden in a bag ripped through a crowded bazaar in a mainly Shiite area of Pakistan’s northwestern tribal region Sunday, killing at least 16 people and wounding more than 30, officials said. The death toll was expected to rise after the explosion at the Eidgah used-clothes market in Parachinar city, the capital of Kurram tribal district on the border with Afghanistan. “We have received 16 dead bodies and 30 people are being treated at the hospital now and we have discharged over a dozen others who had sustained minor injuries,” a doctor at the government-run district headquarters hospital told AFP, requesting anonymity. He said eight of the injured were in critical condition.
Amjad Ali Khan, the political administrator of Kurram, confirmed the toll and said the most seriously wounded were taken by helicopter to the region’s main city of Peshawar. “It was an IED (Improvised Explosive Device) blast, the bomb had been hidden in a bag left at the market,” he added.
Local television footage showed hundreds of male marketgoers fleeing the area, which was strewn with clothing and debris, as police tried to cordon off the location and ambulances rushed to the site. No one immediately claimed responsibility for the attack, but the region is known for sectarian clashes between Sunnis and Shiites, who make up roughly 20 percent of Pakistan’s population of 200 million. (AFP)