Islamic State has claimed responsibility for a bomb blast that killed at least 70 people and injured about 150 at a crowded shrine in southern Pakistan on Thursday. Officials said a suicide bomber detonated the bomb among crowds gathered for the busiest day of the week at the shrine to Sufi saint Lal Shahbaz Qalandar in Sehwan, a town in Sindh province.
Amaq, a news agency affiliated to Isis, claimed the jihadi group had carried out the attack, which was the deadliest in Pakistan so far this year. It was also the latest such attack on devotees of Sufism, a mystical and generally moderate form of Islam despised by radical fundamentalists.
“The explosion took place when a large number of people were inside the shrine boundary,” a local police officer said. “A huge number of people come to the shrine every Thursday to take part in ritual dances and prayers. It is not possible to ensure the security of every person coming and going.”
Sughra Bibi, a 45-year-old woman rushed to hospital with shrapnel wounds in her stomach, said she was near the front of the crowd watching the devotional dancing when the explosion occurred. “The terrorists are targeting us just because they hate our shrines,” she said. “They attacked another shrine a couple of months ago. But we will never give up our faith.” Read more