Bomb Blast Kills Dozens at House of Worship

Bomb Blast Kills Dozens at House of Worship

( – Almost 60 people have died after a suicide bombing at a Pakistani mosque. The mosque followed the minority Shia denomination of Islam, and Islamic State (IS) have claimed responsibility for the atrocity.

On March 4, one or two terrorists opened fire on the police guards outside the building as worshippers at a Shia mosque in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar gathered for Friday prayers. With 2 policemen down, the attacker(s) then ran inside the building and detonated a suicide vest packed with 12 pounds of explosives and hundreds of ball bearings. Peshawar police say 56 people died in the blast and another 194 were injured; most of the dead were killed by ball-bearing shrapnel.

The attack was claimed by Islamic State Khorasan (ISIS-K), an offshoot of the original ISIS terror group, which said the attacker was an Afghan national. ISIS follows an extreme version of Sunni Islam, and its members believe the Shia are heretics who have deviated from “real” Islam. Atrocities against Shia are a regular tactic of Sunni jihadis dating at least as far back as the 1990s, and Pakistan – which is famously intolerant of religious minorities – is an obvious target.

Pakistani Shiites organized protests on Friday, complaining about the government’s failure to protect them. The Pakistani state is known to have close links with the Afghan Taliban, Haqqani Network, al-Qaeda, and other Sunni extremist groups.

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