Pakistan: blast at Sufi shrine leaves scores dead
A blast at a Sufi shrine in the Pakistani region of Balochistan killed at least 60 and injured more than 100 on Nov. 12. The Shah Noorani Shrine in the mountain town of Hub, straddling Lasbela and Khuzdar districts, was packed with worshippers when the bomb exploded. Devotees were gathered for a traditional dhamal dance ritual at the shrine to the saint Shah Bilal Noorani. The shrine's remote location has impeded rescue efforts. The shrine attracts devotees from all over Pakistan, as well as neighboring Iran. The local franchise of ISIS issued a statement taking responsibility for the attack through its Amaq News Agency, saying it was carried out by a suicide "martyr," and sought to target "Shi'ites." The shrine is venerated by Sunnis and Shi'ites alike.
The attack came one day after security forces killed the commander of the Jundullah militant organization during an operation in Hub area. In the joint action Nov. 10, troops from the Rangers and Frontier Corps gunned down Arif AKA "Saqib" after an exchange of fire. Arif was said to be the mastermind of suicide attacks in Karachi and Balochistan. A large cache of arms and ammunition was seized during the action. Operation are ongoing to hunt down his accomplices. (Daily Pakistan, Samaa, BBC News, AP, Nov. 12)