The Taliban again struck at religious minorities inside Pakistan, killing 54 people in a car bombing at a protest in Quetta and one more person outside a mosque in Mardan.
In Quetta, a suicide car bomb was detonated in the midst of a Qods Day protest held by Shia Muslims who oppose Israel’s control of Jerusalem. Gunmen then opened fire after the blast. Fifty-four people were killed and nearly 200 were wounded, according to reports from Geo News and Dawn.
In the district of Mardan in Pakistan’s northwest, a suicide bomber detonated outside a Ahmadi mosque in the town of Muslimabad Canal. The suicide bomber was armed with an assault rifle and attempted to enter the mosque to kill the worshipers, but was stopped by security guards. One person was killed and four more were wounded in the attack.
Ahmadis are a sect of Islam and are banned from calling themselves Muslims by the Pakistani government. The group is widely discriminated against in the country and is a frequent target of the Taliban and other Pakistani terror groups. On May 28, 2010, the Punjabi Taliban assaulted two Ahmadi mosques in Lahore, killing more than 70 people.
Today’s suicide attacks follow another that took place in Lahore just two days ago. More than 30 people were killed during suicide attacks against a Shia religious procession in the eastern city.
The Pakistani Taliban as well as the Lashkar-e-Jhangvi al Almi, another name for the so-called Punjabi Taliban, claimed that they carried out the attack in Lahore. Shakirullah Mehsud, a spokesman for Qari Hussain Mehsud, the Taliban’s top trainer of suicide bombers, made the announcement.
“It’s revenge for the killings of innocent Sunnis,” Shakirullah told Reuters. “We also have videos of the fedayeen (suicide bombers) and we may release them.”
Today’s attack in Mardan is also the latest to have targeted Pakistanis at religious buildings and events. Over the past few years, the Taliban have shown no reservations about striking inside mosques and other religious sites, as well as during religious processions and events [see list below]. There have been 25 major attacks on mosques and other Islamic institutions in Pakistan since December 2007, according to information compiled by The Long War Journal.
Major attacks at mosques, religious events, and Islamic institutions in Pakistan since December 2007:
Sept. 3, 2010: A suicide bomber attempted to storm a mosque in Mardan, but was stopped by security guards. One person was killed after he detonated his vest.
Sept. 1, 2010: Suicide bombers detonated during Shia religious processions in Lahore, killing 28 people.
Aug. 23, 2010: A suicide bomber detonated at a mosque in Wana, South Waziristan, killing 18 people.
July 1, 2010: Suicide bombers detonated at the Data Ganj Bakhsh shrine in Lahore, killing 41 people and wounding more than 170.
May 28, 2010: The Punjabi Taliban assaulted two Ahamadi mosques in Lahore, killing more than 70 people.
Dec. 18, 2009: A suicide bomber detonated inside a mosque frequented by policemen in Lower Dir, killing 12.
Dec. 4, 2009: A suicide assault team stormed a mosque in Rawalpindi that is frequented by Army officers, killing 40.
Oct. 20, 2009: A pair of suicide bombers detonated their vests at Islamabad’s International Islamic University, killing five.
June 12, 2009: A suicide bomber killed five Pakistanis, including anti-Taliban cleric Dr. Sarfraz Naeemi, in an attack on a mosque in Lahore during Friday prayers.
June 12, 2009: A suicide bomber killed six worshipers and wounded more than 90 in an attack inside a mosque in Nowshera. The attack collapsed the dome of the mosque.
June 5, 2009: A suicide bomber killed 49 worshipers in an attack on a mosque in a remote village in Dir.
April 5, 2009: A suicide bomber killed 24 worshipers and wounded more than 100 in an attack outside a Shia religious center in the Chakwal district in Punjab province.
March 27, 2009: A Taliban suicide bomber killed more than 70 worshipers and wounded more than 125 in an attack at a mosque in the Khyber tribal agency.
March 5, 2009: An attacker threw a hand grenade into the middle of a mosque in Dera Ismail Khan, wounding 25 worshipers.
March 2, 2009: A suicide bomber killed six people during an attack at a gathering in a mosque in the Pishin district in Baluchistan.
Feb. 20, 2008: A suicide bomber killed 32 Pakistanis and wounded more than 85 in an attack on a funeral procession for a Shia elder who was murdered in Dera Ismail Khan.
Feb. 5, 2009: A suicide attack outside a mosque killed more than 30 Shia worshipers and wounded more than 50.
Nov. 22, 2008: A bombing at a mosque in Hangu killed five civilians and wounded seven.
Nov. 21, 2008: A suicide attack on a funeral procession in Dera Ismail Khan killed 10 mourners and wounded more than 25.
Sept. 10, 2008: The Taliban attacked a mosque filled with Ramadan worshipers in the district of Dir in northwestern Pakistan. More than 25 worshipers were killed and more than 50 were wounded.
Aug. 19, 2008: A suicide bomber killed 29 Shia mourners and wounded 35 after detonating in the emergency ward of a hospital.
June 17, 2008: Four Pakistanis were killed and three wounded in a bombing at a Shia mosque in Dera Ismail Khan.
May 19, 2008: Four Pakistanis were killed in a bombing outside a mosque in Bajaur.
Jan. 17, 2008: A suicide bomber killed 10 and wounded 25 in an attack on a Shia mosque in Peshawar.
Dec. 28, 2007: A suicide bomber detonated in the middle of a mosque in Charsadda in an attempt to kill former Interior Minister Aftab Sherpao as he conducted Eid prayers. More than 50 were killed and more than 200 were wounded.
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