Suicide Bomber Kills 11 at Religious Festival in Pakistan

A suicide bomber killed at least 11 in Peshawar, Pakistan before the start of the Shiite festival of Ashoura.

A policeman stands beside victims who were injured in a blast, in a local hospital in Peshawar, January 27, 2007. A suspected suicide bomb attack near a mosque in the Pakistani city of Peshawar killed at least 11 people on Saturday, most of them police officers, a senior provincial government official said. (REUTERS/Ali Imam)

Most of the victims in the blast were policemen.
The AP reported:

PESHAWAR, Pakistan – A suspected suicide attacker exploded a bomb near a Shiite Muslim mosque in this northwestern Pakistani city late Saturday, killing at least 11 people, including the city police chief, and wounding 35, police said.

Most of the victims were police and municipal officials who were clearing the route for a procession of Shiites in a crowded old quarter of Peshawar, said police officer Aziz Khan. The procession had yet to begin.

This weekend marks the start of the festival of Ashoura, when Shiites mourn the 7th century death of the prophet Muhammad’s grandson, Imam Hussein. In the past the festival has been a target for sectarian attacks.

The blast went off in a bazaar area about 200 yards from the mosque that was the starting point for the Shiite procession. It caused a power outage that left the city center in darkness, complicating rescue efforts.

A Pakistani policeman cries over the death of his comrade after a bomb explosion in Peshawar, January 27, 2007. A blast near the largest mosque in the Pakistani city of Peshawar killed up to 10 people, most of them police officers, police and witnesses said. (REUTERS/Ali Imam)

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