Death toll in Pak Sufi shrine attack rises to 22

Death toll in Pak Sufi shrine attack rises to 22

Death toll in Pak Sufi shrine attack rises to 22

"It was a suicide blast and a police constable was also killed in the blast", Baluchistan spokesman Anwar-ul-Haq Kakar told Reuters.

Provincial home minister Sarfaraz Bugti confirmed the toll.

In February of this year, at least 75 people were killed in an attack on Pakistan's Lal Shahbaz Qalandar shrine, in the southern city of Sehwan in the Sindh province.

The blast occurred as Muslims attended annual celebrations of a local saint.

Devotees visit the shrine daily, with attendance climbing significantly during festivities.

The explosion triggered panic, with worshippers shouting and running in different directions, officials at the site told AFP.

The Islamic State terror group claimed responsibility for the attack in a brief statement carried by its propaganda "Amaq" news agency. Majority of the dead and injured were members of the Shia community. He said the bravery of police officials and security guards at the entrance of the shrine ensured that the suicide bomber could not harm the people who had amassed inside.

He stressed the need for vigilance and attempt to preserve unity between the neighboring country's government and nation in a bid to continue the battle against terrorists and to eliminate violence from the region.

Pakistan has launched a series of military offensives since 2007 in its tribal badlands near the Afghan border to cleanse these areas of homegrown as well as Taliban and Al-Qaeda-linked militants.

He expressed sympathy with the Pakistani government, people and the families of the victims.

However, it has been overtaken in recent decades by more conservative versions of the faith.

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