Blast kills at least 21 in Pakistan vegetable market
Attack jointly claimed by Pakistani Taliban and sectarian militant group Lashkar-e-Jhangvi
A man who was injured in a bomb blast is take to hospital near the Afghan border in Parachinar, Pakistan. Photograph: EPA
An explosion in a busy vegetable market killed at least 21 people on Saturday in Pakistan’s remote northwestern tribal region, an official said.
The attack jointly was claimed by the Pakistani Taliban and a branch of the sectarian militant group Lashkar-e-Jhangvi.
“We received 21 bodies of the local tribal people killed in the blast,” Turi said, adding that there would be a mass funeral followed by a demonstration over the attack.
Spokesmen for the Pakistani Taliban and Lashkar-e-Jhangvi Al Alami said the two groups coordinated the attack together.
Mohammad Khurassani, a spokesman for the Mehsud faction of the Pakistani Taliban, said the attack was to avenge Tuesday’s killing of the leader of Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LeJ), Asif Chotoo, by police in the eastern province of Punjab.
Ali bin Sufyan, spokesman for LeJ’s Al Alami faction, told Reuters his group had coordinated the attack with the Pakistani Taliban. The Al Alami militants in the past have claimed to have coordinated attacks with Middle East-based Islamic State’s branch in Pakistan, including the November bombing of a Muslim shrine that killed 52 people, but the group also allies with the Taliban.
Reports differed on the cause of the explosion.
Turi said a homemade bomb had been planted in a pile of tomatoes and exploded as people gathered in the market in Parachinar, Kurram’s main town, early on Saturday morning.
Taliban militants have been active around Parachinar in the past, ad the town has also suffered sectarian tension between Sunni and Shia Muslims.
Another Kurram official, Sabzali Khan, said early reports had suggested that a suicide bomber was responsible for the blast.