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At Least Four Dead In Grenade Attack On Shi'ite Ashura Procession In Eastern Pakistan

A spokesman for a Shi'ite organization said that the grenade was hurled into the crowd attending an Ashura procession in which Shi'a Muslims mourn the 7th-century death of Prophet Muhammad’s grandson, Hussein. (file photo)

At least four people have been killed in a grenade attack on an Ashura mourning procession of Shi'ite Muslims in eastern Pakistan.

A spokesman for the Shi'ite organization Majlis-e-Wahdat Muslimeen told RFE/RL's Radio Mashaal that several people were also injured in the attack in the city of Bahawalnagar in the eastern Punjab Province on August 19.

The spokesman said that the grenade was hurled into the crowd and blamed local authorities for failing to provide adequate security measures.

No one has claimed responsibility for the attack.

The annual commemoration mourns the 7th-century death of Prophet Muhammad’s grandson, Hussein, one of Shi'ite Islam’s most beloved saints.

For Shi'a, the remembrance of Hussein is an emotional event that sees many believers weep over his death at the Battle of Karbala in present-day Iraq.

During the Ashura processions, which are held across the world, many participants beat their backs with chains, flagellating themselves in a symbolic expression of regret for not being able to help Hussein before his martyrdom.

Shi'a are a minority in predominant Sunni Muslim Pakistan, where extremist Sunni Muslims view them as apostates who deserve to die.

With reporting by AP
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    Radio Mashaal

    Radio Mashaal is a public-service broadcaster providing a powerful alternative to extremist propaganda in Pakistan's remote tribal regions along the border with Afghanistan.