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70 killed as Islamic State targets Sufi shrine in Pakistan

Pakistani hospital staff make arrangements outside an emergency ward for the victims of suicide bombing at a famous shrine in interior Sindh province, in Karachi, Pakistan on Feb. 16, 2017.

Pakistani hospital staff make arrangements outside an emergency ward for the victims of suicide bombing at a famous shrine in interior Sindh province, in Karachi, Pakistan on Feb. 16, 2017.   | Photo Credit: AP

The place was full of devotees when suicide bomber struck

At least 70 people were killed and 200 injured in a terror attack on a popular Sufi shrine in Sindh province on Thursday.

This is the seventh terrorist strike in Pakistan since Monday.

The shrine of Lal Shahbaz Qalandar in Sehwan city of Sindh was full of devotees when a suicide bomber struck. Officials feared the death toll would rise.

The Islamic State (IS) has claimed responsibility for the attack, the first time it has done so for a strike in Pakistan.

Pakistani officials have been denying the presence of the IS in the country despite several reports that the group has gained a foothold. Deputy Commissioner of Jamshoro district, which oversees the Sehwan shrine, Munawwer Mahesar, told reporters that authorities suspected that the suicide bomber was a woman.

“We have recovered a severed head of a woman suspected to be the suicide bomber,” he said.

Commissioner of Hyderabad Shafiq Mahesar said rescue teams had been rushed to Sehwan.

The blast happened in the shrine’s compound where a large number of devotees were performing the ritual of ‘dhamaal’, said survivors.

Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif said the blast was an attack on the progressive, inclusive future of Pakistan.

“The past few days have been hard and my heart is with the victims. But we can’t let these attacks divide us. I will do everything in my power to protect this country, and what it represents,” he said in a statement.

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Printable version | Jul 2, 2020 9:55:47 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/international/70-killed-as-Islamic-State-targets-Sufi-shrine-in-Pakistan/article17313434.ece

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