Pakistan Hospital Bomb Kills 23

Shia mourners killed in volatile northwest province
By Jason Farago,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 19, 2008 7:20 AM CDT
A woman accompanies her son, who was injured in a suicide bombing, as they walk past police officers gathered near the site in Dera Ismail Khan, Pakistan on Tuesday, Aug. 19, 2008.    (AP Photo/Ishtiaq Mahsud)
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(Newser) – Twenty-three people died today and another 20 were wounded in a suspected suicide bomb attack in a Pakistani hospital. The blast took place in the North West Frontier Province, the highly volatile region bordering Afghanistan. The explosion took place as Shia Muslims were mourning the death of a leader, who had been shot and whose corpse had been transported to the hospital.

Most of the dead are thought to be Shia protesters, not hospital patients, according to an official in the city of Dera Ismail Khan. "This area has been hit by sectarian violence for many years and this is also a sectarian-related incident," said the province's police chief. The explosion comes just a day after Pervez Musharraf's resignation as president and amid stepped-up fighting in the province between Pakistani forces and militants.