Pakistani security officials check the site of a bomb blast as the minority Muslim Shia sect observes the annual Ashoura holiday.(Photo: Kashif Naveed, AP)
LAHORE, Pakistan -- Thirteen people have died in a main Pakistani
city after drinking cough syrup suspected of being toxic, police said
The victims were all drug addicts who apparently drank the
cough syrup in an attempt to get high, said police officer Multan Khan.
said they died at various hospitals in the eastern city of Lahore over
the past three days. Five other addicts who drank the cough syrup were
Police arrested the owners of three drug stores
where the cough syrup was sold and sent a sample to determine whether it
was toxic, said Khan.
Elsewhere in the country, a bomb hidden in a
cement construction block exploded in the southern city of Karachi
killing one person, said senior police officer Farooq Awan. Four other
people were wounded, he said.
The bomb contained about 2.2 pounds of explosives and was detonated by a mobile phone, said Awan.
suspended mobile phone service throughout most of the country on
Saturday and Sunday to prevent attacks against Shiite Muslims during a
major religious commemoration.
Despite the ban, a pair of bombings over the weekend killed at least 13 people.
the police officer, said he suspected the bomb in Karachi was meant to
target Shiites over the weekend, but militants were not able to detonate
it because of the mobile phone ban.
Shiites are currently
observing the holy month of Muharram. Pakistani Shiites on Sunday marked
Ashoura, the most important day of the month.
Pakistan has a long history of Sunni Muslim extremists targeting Shiites, who they consider heretics.
Monday, police in Pakistan's capital, Islamabad, found and defused a
bomb planted underneath the car of one of Pakistan's most prominent TV
anchors, Hamid Mir of Geo Television.
The bomb was made up of half
a kilogram (1 pound) of explosives stuffed in a tin can, said Islamabad
police chief Bani Amin. It was placed in a bag and attached to the
bottom of Mir's car, said Amin.
One of Mir's neighbors noticed the
bomb underneath the car after the TV anchor returned from a local
market, and the police were notified, said Rana Jawad, a senior official
at Geo TV.