PARACHINAR, Pakistan, Dec. 13 (UPI) — More than 20 people were killed Sunday in a bomb attack aimed at Shiite Muslims near the Afghan border in northwestern Pakistan’s Kurram tribal agency.
An international wing of sectarian militant group Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, based out of Pakistan, claimed responsibility for the attack, which occurred at a clothing market in the town of Parachinar, home to a Shiite tribe known as the Turi.
DAWN News quoted police bomb disposal experts as saying the device, which was packed with between 65 and 75 pounds of explosives, was remotely detonated.
Reports of casualties vary from 15 to 25 killed, while between 40 and 55 people were injured.
“This attack is revenge for the crimes committed in support of [Syrian President] Bashar al-Assad and Iran against Syrian Muslims,” The Wall Street Journal quoted an LeJ statement as saying. “We warn the Rawafid [Shiite] parents of Parachinar that if they don’t stop their children from joining this war, be prepared for more attacks.”
LeJ and other Sunni militant groups from Pakistan are believed to be fighting with anti-Assad rebels in Syria, while recent video reportedly showed Pakistani Shiites fighting on the other side.
The Kurram tribal agency is located amid Pakistan’s militancy-plagued northwestern tribal regions, where the Pakistani military has mounted an offensive operation known as Zarb-e-Azb, killing an estimated 3,000 members of the Taliban and other militant groups since June 2014.