A suicide bomber has killed at least 26 people and wounded at least fifty others in a Shia Muslim region of northwest Pakistan after Friday prayers, according to reports.

The attacker targeted a market in the town of Parachinar in the Pakistani tribal region of Kurram near the Afghanistan border.

He later blew himself up near a mosque.

BBC reported that three more people died when security forces fired into a crowd who were protesting the attack. A curfew has been imposed upon the town

A member of the Pakistan Taliban, Fazal Saeed, took responsibility for the bombing.

We have targeted the Shia community of Parachinar because they were involved in activities against us, Saeed told Reuters by telephone.

“We also warn the political administration of Parachinar to stop siding with the Shia community in all our disputes.”

Saeed was formerly a member of Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) but departed that group following a falling out with TTP leaders. Reuters said he is close to the Haqqani terror network, which is itself linked to the Afghan Taliban.

Pakistan is a predominantly Sunni Muslim nation – radical Sunni factions have targeted Shia minorities in acts of sectarian violence across the nation.

The area around Kurram, the only part of Pakistan’;s border regions with a significant Shia population, has witnessed many killings arising from sectarian clashes. The Taliban and al Qaeda are bitterly anti-Shia and regard them as apostates.