23 Shia pilgrims killed in Taftan bombing

ET: QUETTA: Nearly two dozen people were killed and many more injured in a suicide attack on a hotel hosting Shia pilgrims in Taftan, a district on the border with Iran, late Sunday night. Officials fear the death toll could rise as some of the injured are in critical condition.

A suicide bomber entered Al Murtaza Hotel and detonated the explosives strapped to his body in the midst of Shia pilgrims, security sources told The Express Tribune. The blast caused significant damage to the building.

Other sources claimed that two suicide bombers entered Al Murtaza and Al Hashmi hotels where around 300 Shia pilgrims were staying. However, one of them could not detonate the charge.

According to Balochistan Home Secretary Akbar Hussain Durrani, the pilgrims had returned after pilgrimage of sacred shrines in neighbouring Iran. “They were waiting for transport in the two hotels when the bomber struck,” he added. Sources said the pilgrims belonged to different parts of the country, including Kurram Agency.

Levies officials confirmed that 23 people were killed and many more injured. However, Edhi sources put the number of fatalities at 35.

Levies and Frontier Corps personnel swung into action and reached the spot while the attack was still under way. They engaged the attackers in a gunfight. The militants lobbed hand grenades and fired sophisticated weapons at the Levies and FC personnel.

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