A suicide attack ripped through a Pakistani market on Friday, killing at least seven people and wounding 45 others near a mosque in the country’s tribal badlands, officials said.
The bomb exploded near a Sunni Muslim mosque as the main Friday prayers were taking place in Parachinar, in the past a flashpoint for sectarian violence between majority Sunni and minority Shiite Muslims.
Parachinar is the main town in Kurram district, part of Pakistan’s tribal belt on the northwestern border with Afghanistan that the United States considers a headquarters of Taliban and Al-Qaeda-linked militants.
“We have received seven dead bodies and 45 wounded, nine of them are in a critical condition,” Doctor Habibullah Jan told AFP from the city’s main state-run hospital.
A security official said eight people died and more than 30 were wounded.
Residents said the bombing destroyed at least eight shops in the city’s crowded bazaar.
“It was a suicide attack,” a senior Pakistani security official told AFP on condition of anonymity. He gave no details.
Other officials could not confirm whether a suicide bomber was responsible.
“We don’t have exact details about the nature of the blast,” said the top administration official for the region, Mohammad Anees.
According to an AFP tally, Islamist bombers and gunmen have killed more than 4,800 people across Pakistan since July 2007.