In Pakistan 20 people dead as explosion rips through mosque

Shi'ite Muslims who form about one-fifth of the 180 million population of Pakistan have often been targeted in mosques by Sunni Islamist groups, who see them as infidels

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Rescue workers and a policeman stand at the site of an explosion in a Shi'ite mosque in Shikarpur, located in Pakistan's Sindh province January 30, 2015. play

Rescue workers and a policeman stand at the site of an explosion in a Shi'ite mosque in Shikarpur, located in Pakistan's Sindh province January 30, 2015.

(Reuters/Amir Hussain)
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No less than twenty people were killed on Friday when a mosque packed with Shi'ite Muslims was blown in the Pakistani city of Shikarpur and left more than 50 others injured, officials said.

Shi'ite Muslims who form about one-fifth of the 180 million population of Pakistan have often been targeted in mosques by Sunni Islamist groups, who see them as infidels.

A doctor speaking to Reuters, said "At least 20 dead bodies and more than 50 wounded people have been brought to the hospital."

The cause of the explosion which occurred during Friday prayers in the busy central part of the town is yet to be ascertained.

"We are trying to ascertain the nature of the blast," said Shikarpur police chief Saqib Ismail Memon. "A bomb disposal squad is examining the scene."

Part of the mosque collapsed after the explosion, burying some of the wounded in rubble. Bystanders later pulled them out.

Meanwhile, Jundullah, a splinter group of Pakistan's Taliban, which last year pledged support for ISIS, has claimed responsibility, Reuters reports.

"Our target was the Shia community (mosque)... They are our enemies," said Fahad Marwat, a Jundullah spokesman. He did not elaborate.

Sain Rakhio Merani, a regional police official, said the blast was probably caused by an explosive device, although Pakistani television quoted some residents as saying they saw a man wearing a suicide vest.

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