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Death toll in Pak Sufi shrine attack rises to 22

07 October 2017

"A suicide bomber blew himself up after he was intercepted by police guards on duty outside the shrine", senior local administration official Asad Kakar told AFP. Worshipers had come to the shrine to mark Muharram, one of the holiest months in the Islamic calendar and for Shiites a time to mourn one of their imams, or saints.

A suicide bomber killed 52 people and wounded over 100 at a Balochistan Sufi shrine in November a year ago, in an attack claimed by Islamic State.

Later, addressing reporters, Balochistan home minister Mir Sarfaraz Bugti said that so far it appeared to be a suicide attack.

The Friday morning attack near a shrine in Jhal Magsi District has lead to deaths of 18 people while as many as 22 people have also been injured.

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The attack took place at Dargah Fatehpur in the Jhal Magsi district of the oil and gas rich Balochistan province, bordering Iran and Afghanistan.

The police have launched an investigation and an initial probe reportedly showed that the blast occurred when dhamal was ongoing in the premises of the shrine. Islamic State has claimed a couple of recent suicide suicide bombings of Sufi shrines in Baluchistan.

The bomber detonated his explosives vest when he was stopped for a routine search by a police officer guarding the shrine in the village of Jhal Masgi, about 400 kilometers (240 miles) east of Quetta, the capital of Baluchistan province. Militants opposed to pluralist interpretations of Islam have targeted shrines like this in the past. In February, IS attacked a Sufi shrine in Pakistan's southern Sindh province, killing 83 people.

Death toll in Pak Sufi shrine attack rises to 22