22 people including two children killed in explosion in northwest Pakistan, more than 70 injured

Sajid Hussain, a parliamentarian from Parachinar, says it was a suicide attack and was preceded by gunfire.

Three suicide bombings kill at least 17 in Baghdad
Blood stains are seen at the site of a suicide bomb blast. Reuters (Representational image)

At least 22 people were killed, including a woman and two children, and dozens were injured in an explosion that was apparently targeted towards a mosque in the Pakistani city of Parachinar, in the remote northwestern tribal region bordering Afghanistan, a member of parliament and the local political agent said.

The incident took place when the people gathered for Friday prayers near the women's entrance of a Shia mosque in the central bazaar. There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the blast that is the latest in a series of attacks this year.

Sajid Hussain, a parliamentarian from Parachinar, said it was a suicide attack and was preceded by gunfire. "The attack took place in a busy area and a women's mosque appears to be the target," he told Reuters.

Mumtaz Hussain, a doctor at the local Agency Headquarters Hospital said five bodies and more than three dozen wounded people were brought to the hospital. An appeal had been already issued for blood donors.

"Patients are being brought to us in private cars and ambulances and we have received over three dozen patients so far," Hussain added.

The authorities in mainly Sunni-Muslim Pakistan said that rescue helicopters had already been sent to the scene.

Last month, over 70 people died and dozens were wounded in an attack on a crowded Sufi shrine in southern Pakistan. Meanwhile in January, another 21 people were killed when an explosion hit a vegetable market in Parachinar itself.

The Pakistani security forces have battled militant groups in Parachinar, the capital of the Kurram tribal region, for years.

Recently, Pakistan has increased pressure on Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif's government to show it was improving security and has taken initiative to come through the militant violence. But, these latest attacks have actually shattered the hopes.