ISLAMABAD, PAKISTAN - The Islamic State terrorist group claimed responsibility for Saturday evening’s bomb attack on a crowded Sufi shrine in Pakistan’s southwestern Baluchistan province that killed at least 52 people and wounded around 100 others.
Witnesses and doctors feared the death toll was expected to rise.
Hundreds of people were present when the explosion occurred at the shrine about 100 kilometers from Hub, a city on the border of neighboring Sindh province.
The victims included women and children. A local official at the Shah Noorani Shrine said many of the wounded were in critical condition.
Witnesses said some of the wounded succumbed to their injuries because of the absence of a local hospital or medical facility in the remote area.
It took rescue teams hours to reach the scene. Some shrine visitors relied on their personal vehicles to transport the wounded and dead.
Pakistan army spokesman Lieutenant General Asim Bajwa said troops and army medical teams had been dispatched to the scene to help. He said evacuating by air was difficult because there are no landing strips in the area. But he said authorities were looking into sending helicopters Saturday night to transport the victims.
Hundreds of Sufi devotees gather in large numbers at the shrine every Saturday and Sunday to perform special rituals. Those include dancing by women and children who pay tribute to the Sufi saint buried there.
This was the second attack within three weeks that IS claimed to have carried out in Baluchistan.
On October 24, three IS suicide bombers raided a police training center in the provincial capital, Quetta, killing more than 62 recruits and wounding 120 more.