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Toll in Rawalpindi blast rises to 23

Toll in Rawalpindi blast rises to 23

ISLAMABAD: Toll in the suicide attack on a Moharram ul Haram procession in Rawalpindi that occurred late on Wednesday night rose to 23 on Thursday, a police rescue spokeswoman told.

The attack, in the Dhok Sayidan area of Rawalpindi, came hours after two back-to-back bomb blasts --40 minutes apart-- near an Imambargah in Karachi, which killed two people and left 16 others wounded.

Sources quoted eyewitnesses as saying that a suicide bomber suddenly entered into the Moharram-ul-Haram procession and detonated the explosives strapped to his body.

"Two unknown people, who did not appear to be mourners, barged in the procession and one of them blew himself up", said eyewitnesses.

It is pertinent to mention that around 3,000-4,000 mourners left one Imamabargah in the form of a procession and were on their way to another, when the bomber struck.

Deeba Shehnaz said the death toll rose from 16 after patients, who were critically wounded in the attack, died from their injuries in various hospitals.

"A total of 23 people have expired and 62 injured, eight of them are children," she said.

"The 23 apparently include the bomber because we have pieces of the body that have apparently not been identified," she added.

The attack came as Pakistan welcomed Muslim leaders for a rare summit in Islamabad that brings together Bangladesh, Egypt, Indonesia, Iran, Malaysia, Nigeria, Turkey and Pakistan in the Developing Eight.

Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) has claimed responsibility for twin bomb attacks in Karachi and Rawalpindi, which killed 25 people.

"We carried out the attacks (on Wednesday) in Rawalpindi and Karachi because the community is engaged in defiling the Prophet," spokesman Ehsanullah Ehsan told by telephone from an undisclosed location.

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