At least 52 people including women and children were killed and more than 105 injured in a suicide bomb attack carried out by a 14-year-old boy on Saturday in a local shrine in Balochistan, Pakistani police sources said.
The attack took place at the shrine of Shah Noorani in Hub city, an hour’s drive south west of Karachi, where followers had assembled for the annual gathering in honour of the local saint.
It took place ahead of the famous Dhamal - the dance and music show that is an annual ritual at the shrine.
Balochistan home minister Sarfaraz Bugti said 52 people were killed and local district commissioner Hashim Ghalzai said more than 105 were wounded.
The Islamic State militant group claimed responsibility for the attack according to a statement released by the group’s news agency.
“Thirty-five visitors of the Shia shrine were killed and 95 injured in a martyrdom attack by Islamic State fighters targeting the shrine in Baluchistan in Pakistan,” read the statement.
Prime minister Nawaz Sharif ordered the use of helicopter ambulances to ferry the injured to major hospitals in Karachi from the shrine, which is located in an inaccessible area.
The casualty figure is likely to rise given the lack of timely medical care.
Rescue teams and law enforcers are facing difficulty in reaching the site.
“Our focus is on rescue services at the moment. We can’t be certain about the exact number of casualties and the nature of attack that took place today,” Bugti said while talking to the local media.