Thursday, 19 October, 2017

Death toll in Pak Sufi shrine attack rises to 22

Representational image Representational image
Andrew Cummings | 07 October, 2017, 00:39

IS and other Sunni extremists perceive Shiites as apostates who should be killed and have carried out many such attacks in the past, targeting minority Shiite Muslims in Baluchistan and elsewhere in the country.

Speaking to reporters, Deputy Commissioner Asadullah Kakar said that the attacker tried to enter the shrine and when he was stopped by the police at the main entrance, he blew himself up.

Provincial home minister Sarfaraz Bugti confirmed the toll.

The shrine, built in honor of a Sufi saint, was reportedly packed with worshipers at the time of the blast.

In February, an Islamic State suicide bomber struck inside a famed Sufi shrine in southern Sindh province, killing 88 worshippers as they performed a devotional dance known as "dhamal".

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The attack, claimed by the Islamic State group, took place when there was a heavy rush of devotees who had gathered at the shrine in the village of Jhal Masgi, located about 400 km from Quetta, the capital of Baluchistan province.

The police have launched an investigation and an initial probe reportedly showed that the blast occurred when dhamal was ongoing in the premises of the shrine. No one immediately claimed responsibility for the bombing.

The local administration declared an emergency at hospitals in Sibbi and Dera Murad Jamali. Militants opposed to pluralist interpretations of Islam have targeted shrines such as this before.

In a statement released by ISIS' media wing, the Amaq news agency, the Islamic State of Khorasan claimed it had sent the bomber to strike the shrine in Jhal Magsi.

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