Wall Street Journal
Safdar Dawar And Saeed Shah
- Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, a violent Pakistani sectarian group, claimed responsibility for the bombing
PESHAWAR, Pakistan-A bomb ripped through a market in Pakistan’s remote northwest Sunday, killing at least 25 people, security officials said, with a militant group saying it carried out the attack as a warning to Pakistani Shiite Muslims not to join the war in Syria.
A branch of Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, a violent Pakistani sectarian group, claimed responsibility for the bombing. The attack also injured 45 people, according to Amjad Ali Khan, a senior local ?administration official. It is the first in Pakistan linked to the conflict in Syria?
The bomb went off in Parachinar, home to a Shiite tribe called the Turi, who live surrounded by militants from the majority Sunni sect of Islam. ?
?”This attack is revenge for the crimes committed in support of [Syrian President] Bashar al-Assad and Iran against Syrian Muslims. We warn the Rawafid [Shiite] parents of Parachinar that if they don’t stop their children from joining this war, be prepared for more attacks!” said a statement from a branch of Lashkar-e-Jhangvi.
Videos posted on the Internet in recent months appear to show Pakistani Shiites active in Syria. Militants from Lashkar-e-Jhangvi and other Pakistani Sunni groups are believed to be fighting on the other side, against the regime in Syria.
While terrorist attacks in Pakistan have declined overall in the past year-and-a-half since the country’s security forces ramped up operations, attacks against the Shiite minority persist.
Parachinar, in the Kurram Agency district, is located in the militancy-plagued tribal areas that run along Pakistan’s northwest border with Afghanistan.
The bomb targeted a weekend market for secondhand goods, where traders sell warm clothes for the harsh winter in the mountainous region.
Security officials in the area said that initial investigations pointed to a remote-controlled bomb. Two suspects were arrested, security officials said. The Pakistan military said it took 23 critically injured by helicopter for treatment in Peshawar.
Sectarian groups, as well as the Pakistani Taliban, regularly attack Shiites in Pakistan.
“Our resolve to eradicate the menace terrorism is getting stronger and stronger with the loss of innocent lives and sacrifices of army and law-enforcement officials,” said a statement from Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. “This fight is an irreversible process until this terrorism is rooted out from country.”