Death toll of SW Pakistan suicide blast mounts to 20

Source: Xinhua| 2017-10-06 11:25:33|Editor: Zhou Xin
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ISLAMABAD, Oct. 6 (Xinhua) -- Death toll of Thursday evening suicide blast that hit a shrine in Jhal Magsi district of Pakistan's southwestern Balochistan province has risen to 20, local media cited officials as saying on early Friday, adding that over 30 others were injured.

Local officials also said the killed people included two policemen and three children.

Home Minister of Balochistan Sarfraz Bugti said the blast happened during the Urs, the death anniversary of the shrine's saint, celebrations at the shrine. He confirmed that 27 people also got injured in the blast out of which 14 are in critical condition.

Hospital sources said the critically injured victims have been shifted to hospitals in neighboring districts of Larkana, Shahdad Kot and Jacobabad for treatment.

Provincial Health Minister Rehmat Saleh Baloch said they have declared a state of emergency in hospitals in the districts to ensure proper medical facilities to all the wounded people.

Bugti said that the incident happened when the suicide bomber tried to enter the shrine from the entrance allocated for women devotees, adding that the on-duty policeman stopped the bomber for body frisking when he blew up his explosive jacket, killing himself, the policeman and 16 others.

Bugti said the death toll could have been multiplied if the bomber succeeded in his plans to enter the shrine as there were over 800 people inside there when the attack happened.

Both the country's president Mamnoon Hussain and Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi condemned the attack and expressed sorrow over the loss of lives. Abbasi also directed hospital administration to provide best possible medical treatment to the injured people.

In a late night post on Thursday, the Islamic State (IS) claimed the attack through its website. The extremism militant group claimed that the target of the attack was minority Shi'ite Muslims, but locals said that the killed and injured people included devotees of Shi'ite and Sunni sects.

According to the shrine's official website, it is of a Muslim saint who was born in 1852 A.D. and devoted his life for the wellbeing of people.

This is the third shrine attack in the country over the last the last one year. At least 135 people were killed and over 400 others injured in the previous two attacks, one in Balochistan and the other in neighboring Sindh Province. Both the earlier attacks were claimed by the IS.