Pakistan: Suicide bomber claims the lives of 75 people, scores injured

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Cii Radio| Ayesha Ismail| 17 February 2017| 19 Jumadul ula 1438

At least 75 dead, including children and women, as ISIL claims blast at Lal Shahbaz Qalandar shrine in Sindh province.

In Pakistan’s deadliest attack in more than two years, a suicide bomber has struck a crowded Sufi shrine, killing at least 75 people including women and children.

Hundreds of others were also wounded in Thursday’s attack as they performed a ritual at the famous Lal Shahbaz Qalandar shrine in Sehwan in the southern Sindh province.

The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL, also known as ISIS) group claimed responsibility for the blast via its Amaq propaganda website.

Khadim Hussain, deputy inspector-general of Hyderabad police, told Al Jazeera that at least 75 people were killed and more than 200 were injured in the attack.

At least 43 men, nine women and 20 children were among the victims.

Al Jazeera’s Kamal Hyder, reporting from the capital Islamabad, said: “Hundreds are wounded and have been moved to local hospitals where the facilities aren’t in the best shape.”

Sikandar Mandhro, Sindh’s health minister, told Al Jazeera: “There was a huge crowd gathered there for the [religious ceremony] at the shrine, and there was a very big explosion.

“The medical facilities at Sehwan are not equipped to deal with a very big emergency, so our first priority right now is to get help to the wounded.”

The closest hospital to the shrine is around 70km away.

Witness Nazakat Ali was praying when the bomb exploded.

“The explosion happened, and everyone started running,” he told Al Jazeera, speaking from a hospital in Sehwan. “We were pushed out, there were so many people. I saw blood. I saw people injured and dead bodies.”

Haider Ali, manager of a nearby hotel, said police has sealed off the shrine.

“Our security staff heard it,” he said. “There are a lot of police and ambulances around now. It was complete chaos.”

Source – Al Jazeera