PESHAWAR, Pakistan (AFP) — A bomb ripped through a funeral procession for an assassinated local Shiite Muslim leader in a northwest Pakistan town on Friday, killing four people and wounding 15, police said.
The explosion took place near a Shiite mosque in Dera Ismail Khan, a town in the North West Frontier Province with a history of sectarian violence, which has been on the rise in Sunni-majority Pakistan.
"Four people have been killed and 15 are injured, according to initial reports," district police chief Mohsin Shah said.
"It is not clear whether the bomb was planted or whether it was a suicide attack," he told AFP.
The explosion happened as funeral prayers were being read for the late Sher Zaman and was followed by intense volleys of gunfire from panicked mourners, who typically carry guns to funerals in Pakistan, witnesses said.
Television footage showed panicked people rushing around a street while men carried at least one stretcher in the dusty, low-rise town.
Zaman was shot dead by unknown gunmen riding on the back of a motorbike in a busy Dera Ismail Khan market on Thursday, a local police official said.
He was a prominent member of the Shiite community in Dera Ismail Khan who organised community gatherings, police said.
In the same town, an explosion ripped through a Sunni Muslim mosque on February 3, killing one person and wounding 18 others.
Shiites account for about 20 percent of Pakistan's 160-million-strong population.
The fellow Muslims usually coexist peacefully but sectarian violence have killed more than 4,000 people across Pakistan since the late 1980s.
In one of the deadliest sectarian attacks and the bloodiest bombing in Pakistan this year, 35 people died in a suspected suicide bombing against Shiite worshippers in the central town of Dera Ghazi Khan on February 5.
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