Pakistan Bombing: Explosion in Dera Ismail Khan Targets Shia Muslims During Holy Month


A second bomb blast in as many days rocked the Pakistani city of Dera Ismail Khan in the middle of a Shi'a Muslim holy day procession. The Taliban has announced responsibility for the attack.

The bomb claimed seven lives, including three children, and wounded some forty others. 

Muslim sect-based infighting has been a significant issue in Pakistan of late, including a series of Taliban bombings on November 21, claiming a total of 18 lives, according to The Guardian.

Shi'a Muslims around the Middle East celebrate the month of Muharram, culminating in Ashura, in which Shi'a Muslims whip themselves to commemorate the death of Mohammed's grandson Imam Hussein in the 7th century.

The BBC reports that cell phone service has been cut off in much of the region due to fears of remote detonations by cellular devices, but notes that the bombs on Saturday and Sunday were triggered by TV remotes, not mobile phones.

A local newspaper noted that cell service was still operational in several parts of Pakistan's northwestern Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, including the city of Peshawar, however.

The provincial Information Minister told reporters that security levels had been increased recently due to the string of Sunni bomb attacks, but that this bomb had been planted in a shop alongside the street that the procession was following.

The schism between the Shi'a and Sunni Muslim sects harkens back to the 7th century and both sects view the other as non-believers.

Osama bin Laden, the alleged front man for the Taliban, was a Wahhabist, an extreme fringe of Sunni Muslims.