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Blast in passenger van kills three Shi’ite Muslims in Gilgit
ISLAMABAD: At least three people were martyred and nine others injured on Thursday when a roadside bomb hit a passenger van near Gilgit town in northern Pakistan, officials said.
“The incident occurred near Haramosh village on Gilgit-Skardu road (around 30 miles south of Gilgit) when a passenger van was hit by a roadside bomb blast,” Zain Muhammad, a police official in Gilgit, told news agency AFP.
He said the injured included five women, two men and three children, adding that all the passengers belonged to the Shia community.
“It’s a sectarian attack, the passenger van was going to Haramosh which is a completely Shia populated valley,” he said.
Muhammad Ali Zia, another senior police official, confirmed the incident. “It was a roadside bomb blast” he told AFP.
Gilgit-Baltistan region is relatively peaceful and bomb blasts are rare, but gunmen killed nine foreign tourists including their Pakistani guide on the base camp of Nanga Parbat in June last year.
Shia passengers travelling on the Karakorum Highway (KKH) have come under attack from extremist groups. In August 2012, armed men wearing military uniforms had stopped buses on the KKH killing 25 Shia passengers, after identifying them from their identity cards.
Another 18 Shia passengers were killed in the same manner that year.
Seven Shi’a Muslims killed in Peshawar coach blast
PESHAWAR: At least seven Shiite people were martyred and six injured when a powerful blast hit a passenger coach here on Thursday.
Police said explosives left in two bags went off in the Parachinar-bound coach on Kohat Road.
Capital City Police Officer Ejaz Khan said that a man had placed the bags in the rear of the vehicle. He asked the driver to wait for him that he was coming back with women accompanying him.
An officer of the bomb disposal squad said the bags contained over 5kg of explosives.
“There is a rush of people going to their native areas to celebrate Eidul Azha with their families,” a police official said. The blast caused suspension of traffic on the road for about an hour.
Senior Superintendent of Police (Operations) Najeebur Rehman Bhagvi said the blast could be a reaction to the army operation in North Waziristan. He said all terrorist outfits, including Al Qaeda, had joined hands and were carrying out such attacks.
Bilal Faizi, a spokesman for Rescue Services 1122, said it was difficult to retrieve bodies from the remains of the van. Three of the bodies were charred beyond recognition, he said. The other bodies were identified as those of Jamil Hussain of the Frontier Constabulary, passerby Fazal Khan of Bazidkhel, security guard Sadaqat Ali, who was coming from Karachi to celebrate Eid with family, and Imtiaz Hussain.
The van was completely burnt, but three CNG tanks were found intact.
The blast damaged nearby shops at the Bazidkhel bus stop.
A news agency quoted police officers as saying that the motive of the attack was not clear, but it was suspected to be of a sectarian nature.