March 31 (UPI) — At least 22 people died and dozens more were injured after an explosion outside a Shiite mosque as people gathered for Friday prayers in Parachinar, Pakistan, officials said.
Between 50 and 70 people were wounded in the blast, which happened in a busy Noor marketplace. A surgeon at a hospital in Parachinar told Dawn News the hospital registered 22 bodies, including women and children.
Jamaat-ul-Ahrar, a faction of the Pakistani Taliban, formally known as Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan, took responsibility for the attack.
Some officials said the explosion was likely caused by a car bomb left outside of the women’s entrance of the mosque. At least five people who were injured are in a critical condition, Al Jazeera reported.
The Pakistani army deployed a helicopter to take those injured to a hospital. In a statement, the Pakistani Prime Minister’s Office said Nawaz Sharif “strongly condemned the bomb blast … that resulted into the loss of precious human lives and injured many others.”
The office said Sharif sympathized with the affected families and prayed for the deceased and those injured. The office said Sharif “reiterated his government’s unflinching resolve to eliminate the menace of terrorism from the country at all costs.”
”The network of terrorists has already been broken and it is our national duty to continue this war until the complete annihilation of the scourge of terrorism from our soil,” Sharif said in the statement.