At least 52 people were killed and 105 more were injured in a blast at a Sufi shrine in Pakistan’s Balochistan province on Saturday, which the Islamic State claimed responsibility for. Officials said the blast at Shah Noorani – which is approximately 100 km north of Karachi – took place while hundreds of people were inside its premises immediately after evening prayers were offered, Reuters reported.
Many women and children were among the wounded who were all shifted to hospitals in Karachi. The government sent 25 ambulances to the shrine to shifting the injured. Provincial home minister Sarfaraz Bugti said the Pakistani army was also called in to assist with rescue efforts because of the remoteness of the location.
Initially, it was not clear whether the attack was a suicide bombing or if a device had been planted at the shrine. Pakistani President Mamnoon Hussian and Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif condemned the bombing. Security was tightened across major Sufi shrines following the attack.
The Islamic State later claimed the attack in a statement through its Amaq news agency. The militant group also again said it was responsible for the October 24 attack on a police academy in Quetta, the capital of the Balochistan province. At least 60 people were killed and more than 120 people were injured in that attack.
Militant groups have targeted Balochistan in a wave of attacks in recent years. On August 8, a suicide attack on a hospital in Quetta on August 8 killed at least 70 people. More than 100 people were injured in that blast, with a breakaway faction of the Pakistan Taliban – the Jamaat-ul-Ahrar – claiming responsibility for it.