Quetta: The suicide bombing at a Sufi shrine in Pakistan’s restive Balochistan province that killed at least 52 people was caused by a teenage boy not more than 15 or 16 years old, police said today as Islamic State (IS) claimed responsibility for the deadly attack.
Senior superintendent of police, Khuzdar district, Jaffer Khan confirmed that 52 people had been killed and around 100 injured when the suspected teenage suicide bomber detonated his jacket inside the compound of the revered Shah Noorani shrine yesterday where hundreds of devotees were doing the Dhamal (Spiritual devotional dance).
“Preliminary investigations suggest the suicide bomber was around 15 to 16 years old and entered the shrine and then detonated his vest in the midst of devotees. He had around six to seven kilograms of explosives strapped to the jacket,” he said.
Khan said that the head of the suspected suicide bomber had been recovered from the spot.
Muhammad Hashim Ghalzai, the commissioner of Kalat division of which Khuzdar is a district expressed fear there could be more casualties since rescue operations had yet not been completed due to the remote mountainous area where the shrine was located.
“The bomber appeared to be just 15 or 16 years old and he caused widespread carnage,” he said.
The Islamic State claimed responsibility for the attack through its website and by sending emails to some media outlets in Pakistan but a top cop with the counter-terrorism department in Karachi said any banned militant outfit could be behind the attack.
“Shrines in the past have been targeted by some banned outfits who don’t favour Muslims visiting Shrines or being devotees of saints,” he said.
The spokesperson for the Pakistan military, Lieutenant General Asim Saleem Bajwa said around 20 ambulances and 50 medical personnel of the army had reached the area where the Shrine was located despite the difficult and long distance terrain in the mountains and were trying to help the victims.