Peshawar: At least 20 people were killed in a series of explosions targeting a Hayatabad imambargah in the latest sectarian attack to hit the country. Over 60 people are reported to be injured, and have been taken to a local hospital.
Heavy firing was also reported, with eyewitnesses saying that a thick cloud of smoke had engulfed the Hayatabad's Phase V area. According to the residents of the area three explosions took place inside the Imamia Masjid Imambargah at the time of Friday prayers.
Radical Sunni Islamist groups are continuing to target mosques frequented by minority Shi'ites, whom they tout as ‘infidels’.
According to the police a group of armed men broke into the mosque, where people were attending Friday prayers, and opened fire, following which three explosions were heard inside the building.
"Police have been called and an operation has started against the terrorists," said Mian Saeed, police chief of the northwestern city of Peshawar.
No one immediately claimed responsibility for the attack.
"10 dead bodies and 60 wounded people have been brought to Hayatabad Medical Complex," said a doctor, Mumtaz Marwat.
Last month dozens of people were killed in a similar attack on in a Shikarpur imambargah.
Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Information Minister Mushtaq Ghani told a local TV channel that one of the blasts was a suicide attack.
A search operation is being conducted by security forces who are busy clearing the area. The media have been told by the police to steer clear till the area is cleared.
Federal Interior Minister Nisar Ali Khan has condemned the tragic incident. Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chief Imran Khan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Chief Minister Pervaz Khattak were not allowed to visit the site.
*Quotes courtesy Reuters
This is a developing story and will be updated accordingly