updated 2/28/2004 10:15:26 AM ET 2004-02-28T15:15:26

A suicide attacker blew himself up near a Shiite Muslim mosque in a city near the Pakistani capital on Saturday, government officials told The Associated Press.

The explosives went off prematurely, and the bomber was still a distance from the mosque, said army spokesman Gen. Shaukut Sultan. Sultan said two people were injured in the blast, and the bomber was killed.

The attack occurred as Shiite Muslims were marking the holiday of Muharram, and the mosque was packed with worshippers.

Information Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmed told AP that the situation was “under control.”

Muharram is a month of mourning when Shiite Muslims recall the seventh-century death of Hussein, grandson of Islam’s prophet, Muhammad.

Most of Pakistan’s Sunni and Shiite Muslims live peacefully together, but small radical groups on both sides are responsible for frequent attacks. Pakistan is 20 percent Shiite Muslim and 80 percent Sunni.

Security has been stepped up in Pakistan for the holiday.

Officials on Saturday announced a plan to beef up security at airports nationwide, though they said they had no intelligence that would indicate a specific threat to air facilities.

© 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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