A bomb killed at least eight—including four children—and wounded some 70 at a Shi’ite procession marking the Ashura holy day in Pakistan’s northwestern town of Dera Ismail Khan, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Nov. 24. The Pakistani Taliban claimed responsibility. “We carried out the attack against the Shi’ite community,” spokesman Ehsanullah Ehsan told AFP by phone from an undisclosed location. “The government can make whatever security arrangements it wants but it cannot stop our attacks.” (Reuters, Nov. 25; AFP, Nov. 24) On Nov. 25, a second blast targeting an Ashura procession in Dera Ismail Khan left at least a further four dead. (BBC News, Nov, 25) The blasts follow a suicide attack that killed 23 at a Shi’ite procession in the garrison city of Rawalpindi—Pakistan’s deadliest bombing for five months.
In the prelude to the attacks, Shi’ites received text messages reading “Kill, Kill, Shi’ites.” Authorities believe al-Qaeda franchise Lashkar-e-Jhangvi is behind the attacks. (Reuters, Nov. 21) In Afghanistan, Sunni and Shi’ite students clashed at Kabul University Nov. 24, with one person killed. (AP, Nov. 24)
Also Nov. 24, Lebanese soldiers raided an apartment in the southern town of Nabatiyeh, and arrested five Syrian nationals for possession of explosives, the army said, the latest incident fanning fears that Syria’s civil war is spilling across the border. Shi’ite processions were planned for Nabatiyeh, which are believed to have been the target of a planned attack. (Reuters, Nov. 25; AP, Nov. 24)