SHAFAQNA – Police and medical officials say at least three people have been killed and two others injured when a bomb explosion rocked a Shia mosque in Pakistan’s capital, Islamabad. The blast took place near Qasr-e-Sakina Imambargah in New Shakrial area of the city, which connects Islamabad to the garrison city of Rawalpindi, on Wednesday evening, and was followed by exchange of gunfire between the attacker and security guards.
An initial investigation suggests the act of violence occurred when an assailant sought to enter the religious site and detonate his explosives-laden vest.
The attacker opened fire on the mosque before security guards responded, and the explosive jacket that the man was wearing partially exploded.
A security guard, requesting anonymity, said he heard gunfire outside and immediately reacted by bolting the inner gate of the mosque, giving worshipers enough time to lock themselves inside the main hall.
Spokesperson of Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences (PIMS), Dr. Ayesha Esani, said that three dead bodies had been brought to the hospital.
Police and army personnel have reached the site and cordoned off the mosque. Security personnel are busy clearing the site of any explosives.
The Jundallah militant group, which is linked to the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) terrorist network, has claimed responsibility for the attack.
The explosion comes less than a week after 22 people were killed in a gun-and-bomb attack on a Shia mosque packed with worshipers in the northeastern Pakistani city of Peshawar.
More than 60 people were also wounded during the attack, for which TTP claimed responsibility.
Also on January 30, another explosion hig a Shia mosque and religious center in southern Pakistan killing 61 people, who were performing Friday Prayers in Shikarpur district of Sindh Province. Dozens were also wounded in the attack. Jundallah militants claimed responsibility for the January attack.
The Pakistani army has been stepping up operations against militants following an attack on a military school in Peshawar last December, which left 134 students dead.
Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and military leaders have vowed to eliminate terrorism in the country.
Source : Press TV