A suicide bomber blew himself up in a crowded Shi'ite mosque in
Pakistan's Punjab province, killing at least 24 worshippers and
wounding more than 60 others.
Local authorities say the blast took place Sunday in Chakwal, some 100 kilometers south of the capital, Islamabad.
A police chief (Nasir Durrani) said the bomber was
intercepted at the entrance to the mosque, and that tight security and
metal detectors minimized human losses.
Hospital sources described the condition of some of those wounded as critical, raising fears that the death toll could rise.
Pakistan's President Asif Ali Zardari and Prime Minister Yousuf Raza
Gilani strongly condemned the attack and ordered an investigation.
A little known group, Fedayeen al-Islam, has claimed responsibility for
the bombing. The group recently claimed credit for a deadly attack in
Lahore, as did the Pakistani Taliban.
The Pakistani Taliban also claimed responsibility for Saturday's
suicide bombing at a paramilitary post in Islamabad, in which at least
eight soldiers were killed and four wounded.
An aide to Pakistani Taliban commander Baitullah Mehsud said the attack
was in retaliation for U.S. drone strikes on militants in Pakistan,
near the Afghan border. He warned of more attacks if the drone strikes