Twin suicide bombings kill 49, Injure 150 in Pakistan

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Originally published on July 27, 2013

According to Reuters, suicide bombers on motorcycles blew themselves up within a minute of each other outside Shi'ite mosques in the volatile Pakistani town of Parachinar, near the Afghan border on Friday. At least 49 people were killed and 150 injured in the blast.

Sectarian violence has been on the rise in nuclear-armed Pakistan, where hardline Sunni militant groups have been relentlessly attacking Shi'ites whom they see as heretics.

The first explosion took place near a Shi'ite mosque by a busy market in Parachinar, capital of the tribal Kurram area. It was followed shortly afterwards by a second blast, close to another mosque in the town.

Riaz Mahsud, the top administrator of the Kurram region, said that the attacks were carried out by suicide bombers on motorbikes.

"Some of the injured are still in critical condition and have been shifted to the main hospital in Parachinar," he said.

It was unclear which group carried out the attack and no one immediately claimed responsibility. Parachinar itself is home to a significant Shi'ite community which has been previously targeted by Sunni militants.

Pakistan has suffered a spate of bombings since Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif was sworn in last month, underscoring the challenges he faces in taming sectarian violence as well as an escalating Taliban-linked insurgency.

Both explosions took place before sunset as people flocked to the market area to buy food for their evening meals after a day of fasting during the holy month of Ramadan.

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