Pakistani Taliban claim attack on Shia mosque
Pro-Taliban militants in Pakistan have claimed responsibility for a deadly terrorist attack on a Shia mosque in the northern city of Rawalpindi, Punjab Province.
"We claim responsibility of the attack on the Shia mosque and vow to continue such attacks," the spokesman for Jamat-ul-Ahrar faction of Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), Ehsanullah Ehsan, said in a Saturday statement.
At least seven people were killed and 15 others wounded in a powerful explosion that hit the mosque in the Potohar region on Friday night when dozens of Shia Muslims were marking the birthday of the Prophet Mohammad (peace be upon him).
According to eyewitnesses, the blast was so powerful that it shattered windows in its vicinity.
Tensions have been on the rise in Pakistan since a group of pro-Taliban militants stormed an army-run school in the city of Peshawar and killed about 150 people, including 132 students, last month.
Following the Peshawar attack, Pakistan lifted the moratorium on the death penalty in place for about six years.
Nine convicted militants have been hanged so far since the de facto ban on capital punishment ended.
The government on Friday announced it was setting up nine military courts to hear terrorism-related cases in a bid to boost its campaign against militant groups operating in the country.