A suspected suicide attacker exploded a bomb near a Shia mosque in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar late Saturday, killing at least 11 people, including the city police chief, and wounding 35, police said.
Most of the victims were police and municipal officials who were clearing the route for a procession of Shias in a crowded old quarter of the city, said police officer Aziz Khan. The procession had yet to begin.
This weekend marks the start of the festival of Ashoura, when Shias mourn the seventh-century death of the prophet Muhammad’s grandson, Imam Hussein. In the past the festival has been a target for sectarian attacks.
The blast went off in a bazaar area about 180 metres from the mosque that was the starting point for the Shia procession. It caused a power outage that left the city centre in darkness, complicating rescue efforts.