February 24, 2018

Several dead, dozens injured in explosion at Lal Shahbaz Qalandar's shrine

17 February 2017, 12:29 | Taylor George

The bombing of Pakistan's revered Sufi shrine Lal Shahbaz Qalandar in Sindh province by the dreaded Islamic State jihadis comes as a major challenge to the USA administration of President Donald Trump who has repeatedly vowed to eliminate the global terror organisation in most of speeches.

Reports on the exact death toll have varied - with The Associated Press reporting that at least 75 people died, while the Pakistani newspaper Dawn put the number at 70.

The death toll is feared to go up as numerous injured are in critical condition.

ISIS also said it was behind a horrific bombing at a Baghdad auto dealership Thursday, which killed at least 45 people and wounded dozens more, just one in a series of attacks this week as Iraqi forces put pressure on ISIS in Mosul. The Islamic State has claimed responsibility for the attack.

He later announced on Twitter that the Pakistan-Afghanistan border was "closed with immediate effects till further orders due to security reasons". "Each drop of the nation's blood will be avenged, and avenged immediately".

US State Department Spokesman Mark Toner in a statement strongly condemned the terror attack in Pakistan against peaceful worshipers at one of the country's most revered Sufi shrines.

Pakistan has seen a dramatic improvement in security in the past two years, but multiple attacks this week have taken place in all four provinces. Most of the protesters were relatives of the deceased who had been killed in Thursday's suicide bomb attack.

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Fifty-seven people were killed and another 150 injured after a suicide bombing at a Muslim shrine in southern Pakistan on Thursday, government officials said. Quoting Chief of Army Staff Gen. Qamar Javed Bajwa, he urged the nation to stay clam.

He said the attack is against humanity and Islam.

A statement from the military says the list was given to Afghan officials at the Pakistani army's headquarters in Rawalpindi on Friday.

The Lal Shahbaz Qalandar shrine, which has stood in the town of Sehwan for some 800 years, is a center of Sufi life and worship in the region.

Most of the other attacks have been claimed by factions of the Pakistani Taliban, which is waging its own fight against the Pakistani government but whose ranks have also cooperated with and sometimes defected to ISIS.

He also said that the recent terrorist acts are being executed on directions from hostile powers and from sanctuaries in Afghanistan, adding "we shall defend and respond".

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