28 Dec 2009

Pakistan suicide attack kills 5

7:43 am on 28 December 2009

A suicide bomb attack outside a Shi'ite Muslim mosque in Pakistan-administered Kashmir has killed at least five people.

Eighty-one people were wounded in the attack in Muzaffarabad, 10 of them seriously, deputy commissioner for the region Chaudhry Imtiaz told reporters.

He says of the five who died in the suicide bombing, two were civilians and three were policemen.

Pakistan had put tens of thousands of security forces of alert, fearing sectarian clashes and militant attacks as millions of Shi'ites marked the Ashura festival.

Ashura is one of the main Shi'ite holy days, when the Shi'ite faithful commemorate the slaying of the prophet Mohammad's grandson Hussein in Kerbala in 680 AD.

Shi'ites account for about 20% of Pakistan's mostly Sunni Muslim population of 167 million. More than 4,000 people have died in outbreaks of sectarian violence in Pakistan since the late 1980s.