Death toll rises to 22 in market blast in NW Pakistan, 70 injured

ISLAMABAD, March 31 (Xinhua) -- At least 22 people were killed and 70 others injured when a blast hit a market area in Pakistan's northwest tribal area of Parachinar Friday morning, local officials said.
Local officials confirmed the death toll, adding that the killed and injured people included women and kids.

The explosion ripped through the central Noor Market of Parachinar at Kurram Agency located along Pakistan-Afghanistan border.
Sajid Turi, an elected member of National Assembly from the area, said the explosion happened outside a Shia mosque in the market.

He said the blast happened at the time when the market was crowded and Shia devotees were also coming to the mosque to prepare for Friday prayers.

Eyewitnesses said the attacker parked his explosive-laden car at the mosque's gate when paramilitary troops were frisking people at the entrance, adding that the bomb went off a few minutes after the alleged militant fled the scene. Around 15 nearby shops were damaged in the blast.

The injured were shifted to the agency's hospitals from where the seriously wounded were airlifted to
 hospitals in neighboring Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province.

The Inter-Services Public Relations, the media wing of Pakistani army, said the military has sent a relief helicopter to the blast site for shifting seriously injured people.
No group has claimed the attack yet.

Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif condemned the blast and vowed to eradicate militancy from the country.