Deadly bomb strikes procession in Pakistan

A bomb has exploded near a Shi'ite religious procession in northwest Pakistan, killing three people and wounding more than a dozen.

The roadside device was planted on the route of a religious procession of the minority Shi'ite community in Dera Ismail Khan district on Saturday, police officer Ghulam Ahmed told AFP.

The blast took place as Shi'ite Muslims were gathering for a procession marking the death anniversary of the Prophet Mohammed's grandson Imam Hussain in 680, and security was tight across the country to prevent attacks.

"The bomb was planted in a dustbin, the blast was powerful and heard several kilometres away," another police official, Siddiq Khan, said.

He said more than a dozen people were wounded in the blast, including a police official.

Pakistan on Friday suspended mobile phone services in major cities to prevent terror attacks against Shi'ite Muslim commemorations, officials said. Mobile phones are often used to trigger bomb blasts.

Mobile phone services were temporarily blocked in the commercial capital Karachi, the southwestern city of Quetta and several cities and towns in northwestern Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and central Punjab province as well as in parts of the capital Islamabad.

- AFP

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