NEWS | Suicide Bombing at Pakistan's Shah Noorani Shrine kills 52, IS Claims Responsibility
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NEWS | Suicide Bombing at Pakistan's Shah Noorani Shrine kills 52, IS Claims Responsibility

Various Sources

Image Attribute : A dead is carried away in an ambulance after the Shah Noorani attack, Source: Twitter

At least 52 people were killed and more than 100 others were injured Saturday in a bomb blast at a remote Sufi shrine of Hazrat Baba Shah Noorani, north of the port city of Karachi in Pakistan, officials said, with the Islamic State group claiming the attack via its affiliated news agency Amaq.

Mir Sarfaraz Ahmed Bugti, the home minister in the Baluchistan region, told reporters that the November 12 blast occurred at the Shah Noorani shrine when hundreds of people were inside at the time for a ritual dance - "Dhamaal", that takes place every day at sunset. He said a number of women and children were also believed to be among the casualties.

The Balochistan region where the shrine is located has seen some of the worst militant attacks this year in Pakistan. The region, which borders Iran and Afghanistan, has oil and gas resources but is afflicted by Islamist militancy, sectarian violence between Sunni and Shiite Muslims and a separatist insurgency.

Sufism is a branch of Islam that espouses a mystical, inner belief and incorporates music in its worship. It's been rejected as heretical by Islamic State and other extremists, who hold a more fundamentalist view of Islam. 

The 500-year-old Shrine of Hazrat Baba Shah Noorani shrine is revered and visited both by minority Shiites and Sunni Muslims from all over the Pakistan, but militant groups like the Taliban and Islamic State (IS) consider the practice against of Islam.

Earlier this year, the prominent singer Amjad Sabri was killed in Karachi, shot by gunmen believed to have targeted him for his Sufi traditions. 

Local militants claimed to have worked with the Islamic State group in tandem, to attack a police academy in Balochistan last month, killing 61 people in the deadliest assault on a security installation in Pakistan's history.  

International concern that Islamic State was establishing an operational presence in Pakistan increased after the group said it carried out a suicide bombing at a hospital in the city of Quetta that killed more than 73 people in the month of August, this year.  

However, a couple of months earlier, Pakistan's military has claimed it has crushed Islamic State's attempt to expand there, dismissing as propaganda claims by the Middle East-based Islamist militants. But, the current situation looks quite different.

Based on reporting by RFE/RL's Radio Mashaal, Reuters, AFP and AP