23 killed, 54 injured in Pakistan suicide blast
Death toll of the suicide bombing that hit a Shiite Muslims procession in Pakistan's northern city of Rawalpindi on Wednesday night rose to 23 on Thursday morning, while 53 others got injured, local media said.
The attack happened at 11:33 p.m. local time when a suicide bomber blew himself up in a Shiite Muslims procession in Misrial area in Rawalpindi, an adjoining city of the country's capital Islamabad.
Quoting hospital sources, local Urdu TV channel Dunya reported that three people succumbed to injuries at hospital on Thursday morning, bringing the death toll to 23.
Police said that the head of the bomber, aged between 20 to 25, has been sent to the District Headquarters Hospital for DNA test.
Maulana Ameen Shaheedi, leader of Punjab Shiite organization, and witnesses said that the police failed to provide adequate security to the procession, allowing the suicide bomber to sneak in the procession.
They said that only a few policemen were deployed, and fled the scene after the blast happened.
However, Azhar Hameed, the city police chief, denied the allegation, saying that the bomber blew himself up when a policeman stopped him at a security checkpoint.
Police also recovered a hand grenade from the blast site.
The bomb disposal squad said that the bomber was carrying five to six kilograms of explosive material in his jacket.
Pakistan Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack.
Ehsan-Ullah-Ehsan, the spokesperson of Pakistan Taliban, told local media by phone that they sent their well-trained suicide bomber to target the Shiite procession in Rawalpindi.
Security has been beefed up in the city following the blast and additional police has been deployed to all the processions of Muharram in Rawalpindi on Thursday afternoon and night.