Suicide Bomber Kills 21 at Pakistan Mosque

More than 30 wounded in likely sectarian violence
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Feb 1, 2013 4:56 AM CST
Pakistani men, left, check the damage caused by a car bomb explosion in the troubled Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province bordering Afghanistan, Saturday, Oct. 13, 2012.   (AP Photo/Mohammad Sajjad)

(Newser) – A suicide bomber detonated his explosives outside a Shiite mosque in northwestern Pakistan as worshippers were leaving Friday prayers, killing at least 21 people and wounding 36 in the latest apparent sectarian attack in the country, police said. Shiite Muslims in Pakistan have increasingly been targeted by radical Sunnis who consider them heretics, and 2012 was the bloodiest year for the minority sect in the country's history.

The bomber staged his attack at one of the mosque's exits leading to a bazaar. Most of the dead and wounded were Shiites, but some of the casualties were also from the country's majority sect since there is a Sunni mosque nearby, said a police officer. The town of Hangu in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province has experienced conflict in the past between the Sunni and Shiite communities that live in the town. Both sides have attacked each other's shops and burned them. (Read more Pakistan stories.)

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