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At least 25 reported dead in suicide attack on Pakistani shrine

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By Syed Raza Hassan

KARACHI, Pakistan (Reuters) – A suicide bomber attacked a crowded Sufi shrine in southern Pakistan on Thursday, police said, with local media reporting at least 25 people had been killed and dozens more wounded in the latest in a wave of bombings this week.

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif immediately condemned the attack on Lal Shahbaz Qalandar in the town of Sehwan in Sindh province.

A suicide bomber entered the shrine as crowds massed on Thursday, a statement from the Sindh police spokesman said.

Local Dawn TV quoted a medical superintendent identified as Moinuuddin as saying 25 bodies and 25 seriously wounded were brought to a local hospital.

Geo TV quoted an unnamed medical official as saying at least 30 were killed.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the shrine blast.

Several other attacks this week, including a bomb that killed 13 people in the eastern city of Lahore, were claimed by the Pakistani Taliban’s Jamaat-ur-Ahrar faction.

Sharif in his statement decried the attack on the Sufi religious minority and vowed to fight Islamist militants who target the government and anyone who does not adhere to their strict interpretation of Sunni Islam.

“The past few days have been hard, and my heart is with the victims,” Sharif said.

“But we can’t let these events divide us, or scare us. We must stand united in this struggle for the Pakistani identity, and universal humanity.”

(Additional reporting by Mehreen Zahra-Malik in ISLAMABAD; Writing by Kay Johnson; Editing by Alison Williams)



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