Saturday, June 24, 2017

Death toll from twin blasts in Parachinar rises to 72

The two back-to-back explosions occurred as people were busy shopping for Iftar and Eid in Turi Bazaar area

PARACHINAR: The death from Friday's twin blasts in Parachinar has soared to 72, rescue sources said, with over 300 others wounded.

Among the injured, 22 passed away Saturday morning, according to the rescue sources. Others injured are currently under treatment. 

The back-to-back explosions occurred as people were busy shopping for Iftar and Eid in the Turi Bazaar area, close to a crowded bus terminal in Parachinar, Kurram Agency. 

The second explosion took place as people rushed to provide aid and rescue the wounded from the first explosion. 

Political administration confirmed earlier that 45 people were killed and at least 300 were injured in the explosions. 

Local official Nasrullah Khan said the first blast detonated as the market was crowded with shoppers.

"When people rushed to the site... to rescue the wounded, a second blast took place," he said, adding that officials fear the death toll would increase.

Shahid Turi, a local lawmaker from the area, also confirmed the death toll.

Ambulances evacuate the injured. -AFP

He added that security arrangements were in place at the time of the attack, as paramilitary forces and Army have set up checkpoints in the area.

"The entire area has check posts set-up and the area is declared as a Red Zone. Turi market is a bit outside of the zone," said Turi. 

Hospital officials confirmed that at least 20 of the wounded were in critical condition. 

'Army helicopters dispatched' 

The Army has dispatched two helicopters to evacuate the injured to Peshawar, said a statement released from the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR).

The military's media wing added that the "rescue operation is in progress".

Pakistan Army contingents and FC personnel also reached the site of the attack to aid in the rescue efforts.

Officials said emergency had been imposed in all hospitals across Parachinar, the capital of Kurram agency.

Rescue services reached the spot of the explosions and started shifting the wounded to hospitals. Hospital sources said 20 bodies were shifted to the local district hospital while five bodies were shifted to the central Imambargah.  

A cordon was placed around the site of the attack and a search operation has been initiated in the area after the bombings. 

'Terrorists attacking soft targets'

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif strongly condemned the terrorist attack in Parachinar and directed concerned authorities to increase security across the country.

“Terrorists are attacking soft targets and no Muslim can ever imagine to commit such horrific act,” said the prime minister.

He added that such acts of terrorism will be dealt with the full power of the state.

Nawaz also expressed deep grief and sorrow over the loss of precious lives in the attack. 

Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan also strongly condemned the twin blasts in Parachinar and termed it as an attack against the nation. 

Pakistan People's Party Chairman Bilawal Bhutto said his thoughts and prayers are for the bereaved families and strongly condemned the blasts in Parachinar and Quetta. 

The attack in Parachinar was the second terrorist attack in the country. Earlier in the day, a suicide car bomb blew up in Quetta and killed at least 13 people, including six policeman. 

Earlier in March, at least 24 people were killed and more than 90 injured in a bombing outside an imambargah located in a busy Parachinar market.