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IS attack on Sufi shrine in Pakistan kills dozens

A suicide attack in a popular shrine in southern Pakistan has killed at least 72 people on Thursday, 16 February, 2017. The bomber blew himself up among devotees in the shrine of Sufi saint Lal Shahbaz Qalandar in the town of Sehwan in Sindh province. It is the deadliest in a string of recent bombings claimed by IS, the Pakistani Taliban and other militants.

The shrine, one of the country’s oldest and most revered, was crowded as Thursday is considered a sacred day for Muslims to pray there. Local media reported that he blew himself up after throwing a grenade.

 

The Edhi Welfare Trust, which runs Pakistan’s largest ambulance service, said 43 of the dead were men, nine women and 20 children. At least 250 others were wounded, the BBC reported.

This is the latest in a series of suicide attacks in Pakistan. Thursday marked the sixth attack since the previous Sunday, strikes in which the militant groups have killed nearly 100 people in different parts of the country.

The latest surge comes amid reports of the reunification of some powerful factions of the Pakistani Taliban. Some of these groups have links with the Afghanistan-Pakistan chapter of the so-called Islamic State which itself is composed largely of a former faction of the Pakistani Taliban.