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Death toll of Pakistan's shrine blast rises to 88: authorities

Editor: Wang Lingxiao 丨Xinhua

02-17-2017 20:59 BJT

ISLAMABAD, Feb. 17 (Xinhua) -- The death toll of Thursday's suicide blast at a Sufi shrine in Pakistan's south Sindh province has risen to 88 on Friday, authorities said.

The Sindh Ministry of Heath said 343 people were also injured in the explosion, adding that 76 critically wounded victims are under treatment in different hospitals at Sehwan, Dadu, Larkana, Nawabshah, Jamshoro, Karachi and Hyderabad districts while the slightly injured people were discharged after initial treatment.

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and army chief Qamar Javed Bajwa visited the blast victims at hospital and wished them a speedy recovery.

Sharif also directed the hospital authorities to provide best possible medical treatment to the injured people.

The Inter-Services Public Relations, the mouthpiece of Pakistani army, said in a statement that the terrorist activities are being carried out on the directions of hostile powers and from sanctuaries in Afghanistan.

The army also closed Pakistan-Afghanistan border due to security reasons.

The military summoned Afghan embassy officials to the army general headquarters on Friday morning and handed them a list of 76 terrorists hiding in Afghanistan.

Rasool Bux, Senior House Officer (SHO) Police, said the suicide bomber entered the Lal Shahbaz Qalandar shrine from crowded golden gate and blew himself up in a group of people performing Dhamal (Sufi dance) inside a compound in Sehwan, a small town 284 km from the provincial capital of Karachi.

Global terror group Islamic State has claimed responsibility for the attack.

According to initial investigations by the police, there was no light in the shrine due to power failure when the blast happened and it seems that the suicide bomber entered from the gate by taking advantage of the darkness.

The report added that the attacker entered in shrine in guise of a woman by wearing a burqa, a traditional veiled robe for local women.

The shrine did not have a lady checker and the policemen there let the attacker enter the shrine without checking by mistaking him as a woman due to his dress.

Raja Umar Khitab, head of the investigation team, said the bomber was carrying an estimated 7 kg of explosives in his vest.

The government of Sindh announced a three-day mourning on Friday over the incident and the national flag will fly on half-mast during the mourning days.

Army and police launched a crackdown against militants across the country, following the attack.

In separate operations in all the four provinces and tribal area of the country, at least 37 militants including commanders were killed and over 200 suspects arrested in Punjab province alone.

The military also launched an airstrike in tribal area of Khyber Agency, leaving eight militants killed.

Security was beefed up across the country, following the attack and all the shrines were closed for a brief time.

Extra contingent of police was deployed at the sensitive places across the country to avoid any untoward situation.

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