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Riots erupt after suicide blast kills 30 Shia-Muslims

Article published on the 2009-02-20 Latest update 2009-02-20 15:22 TU

Relatives carry a man injured in the blast(Photo: Reuters)

Relatives carry a man injured in the blast
(Photo: Reuters)

Pakistani troops have taken over the town of Dera Ismail Khan and are imposing a curfew to stop riots following a suicide bombing which killed 30 people. The blast Friday hit the funeral procession of a local Shia-Muslim community leader who was murdered on Thursday.

After the attack, angry crowds fired bullets into the air, pelted cars with stones, ransacked shops, set buses alight and set up roadblocks of burning tyres.

Police say that 30 people were killed and 65 injured by the suicide attack. The victims were mourning the caretaker of a local mosque, Sher Zaman, who was shot dead in a drive-by shooting on Thursday.

There has been no claim of responsibility but police and witnesses have blamed sectarians from the country's Sunni-Muslim majority.

"The tribal-areas-based Taliban they are against Shia and they are very hard-line Sunnis," says correspondent Beroz Khan. "This is not the first time that suicide attacks or a bomb blast are taking place in Dera Ismail Khan, particularly."

Interview: Peshawar correspondent Beroz Khan

20/02/2009 by Salil Sarkar

Two weeks ago 35 Shia worshippers were killed by a bomb in the Punjab town of Dera Ghazi Khan. Shia make up about 20 per cent of Pakistan's 160 million population and more than 4,000 people have died in sectarian violence since the 1980s.