Death toll rises to 24 in Pak­istan shrine sui­cide bomb­ing

Las Vegas Review-Journal (Sunday) - - WORLD - By Ab­dul Sat­tar

QUETTA, Pak­istan — The death toll from a sui­cide bomb­ing at a Shi­ite shrine in the coun­try’s south­west in­creased to 24 after four vic­tims died at a hos­pi­tal overnight, po­lice said Satur­day.

A sui­cide bomber struck the shrine packed with wor­ship­pers in a re­mote vil­lage in Jhal Magsi district, about 240 miles east of Quetta in Baluchis­tan province on Thurs­day.

Se­nior po­lice of­fi­cer Mo­ham­mad Iqbal said that more than 20 vic­tims were still re­ceiv­ing treat­ment, some with crit­i­cal wounds.

The bomber det­o­nated his ex­plo­sives vest when he was stopped for a rou­tine search by a po­lice of­fi­cer guard­ing the shrine. Five chil­dren, a woman and two po­lice of­fi­cers were among those killed.

The Is­lamic State group claimed re­spon­si­bil­ity for the at­tack. The IS has claimed re­spon­si­bil­ity for sev­eral past at­tacks in Baluchis­tan, which has been the scene of a low-level in­sur­gency by Baluch na­tion­al­ists and sep­a­ratists de­mand­ing more au­ton­omy and a greater share in the re­gion’s nat­u­ral re­sources of oil and gas.

Sunni ex­trem­ists and the IS per­ceive mi­nor­ity Shi­ites as apos­tates and have car­ried out many such at­tacks across the coun­try.

At least 75 Shi­ites were killed in twin bomb­ings at a mar­ket in Parachi­nar in the coun­try’s north­west In June this year. Lashkar-eJhangvi, a sec­tar­ian Sunni ex­trem­ist group, claimed re­spon­si­bil­ity.

In Fe­bru­ary, an Is­lamic State group sui­cide bomber struck in­side a famed Sufi shrine in south­ern Sindh province, killing 88 wor­ship­pers en­gaged in “Dhamal,” a de­vo­tional dance.

Also on Satur­day in Baluchis­tan, at least 13 peo­ple were killed and 20 oth­ers wounded when a pas­sen­ger van col­lided head on with a bus on a high­way near the pro­vin­cial cap­i­tal of Quetta.

Muqeem Baig, a spokesman for Quetta’s main hos­pi­tal, said vic­tims were brought to the hos­pi­tal from the ac­ci­dent site some 20 miles south of the city. Such ac­ci­dents are com­mon in Pak­istan, where mo­torists of­ten dis­re­gard traf­fic rules and safety stan­dards.

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