Asia

Pakistan Kurram market bombing funerals held

Ambulance shift injured victims of a bomb blast, to hospital in Kurram tribal region near the Afghan border in Pakistan, 13 December 2015. Image copyright EPA
Image caption Ambulances ferried the victims to hospital in Kurram

Funerals have been held for some of the victims of a bomb attack in a crowded market in northwest Pakistan on Sunday.

At least 24 people died in the blast, with more than 70 injured.

The attack hit the Eid Gah clothes market in the town of Parachinar, in the Kurram tribal agency, near the Afghan border.

Most people in Parachinar, which has a history of violence between Shia and Sunni Muslims, are from the Shia minority.

Previous agreements to calm tensions between the communities have not been implemented.

A hardline Sunni militant group in Pakistan, Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, says it was behind the bombing and linked its attack to the war in Syria, saying it was in revenge for killings carried out by the Syrian president and his Iranian allies.

Image copyright AFP
Image caption Close to 80 people were injured in the explosion in a clothes market
Image copyright bbc

The Reuters news agency reported on Thursday that a unit of Shia Pakistani fighters, many from Parachinar, is in Syria. They were, the report said, recruited by Iran to fight for President Bashar al-Assad against Syria's mostly Sunni rebel forces.

Iran is a majority Shia Muslim nation and is militarily backing Syria's President Assad, who is Alawite - a Muslim sect close to Shia Islam.

Authorities say 30kg of explosives were used in the device, which was remotely detonated.

Violence in the country overall has fallen since the Pakistani army embarked on an offensive against the Taliban and other militants in the North Waziristan agency, bordering Kurram.

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