ISLAMABAD (AP) -- A suicide bombing at a crowded Shiite mosque south of Pakistan's capital killed 22 people Sunday, the latest evidence of how security in the U.S.-allied nation is crumbling well beyond the Afghan border region where al-Qaida and Taliban fighters thrive.
The violence came as a senior Pakistani Taliban commander said his group was behind a deadly suicide bombing Saturday night in Islamabad and promised two more attacks per week in the country if the U.S. does not stop missile strikes on Pakistani territory.
Sunday's suicide bomber set off his explosives at the entrance to a mosque in Chakwal city in Punjab province, some 50 miles (80 kilometers) south of Islamabad, said Nadeem Hasan Asif, a top security official in the province. The blast killed 22 and wounded dozens, he said.
A little-known group believed linked to the Pakistani Taliban claimed it had staged the attack. Pakistan also has a history of sectarian violence, often involving Sunni extremists targeting minority Shiite Muslims.
TV footage showed pools of blood in front of the mosque. Torn clothes and shoes littered the ground, while at least one car and four motorcycles were damaged. A policeman with bandaged legs and a wounded man wearing a bloodstained shirt were shown on hospital beds crying in pain. A woman standing in the emergency ward of the hospital wailed, "Oh my God! Oh my God!"
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