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|Posted: Thu Feb 16, 2017 11:09 pm Post subject: Thu16Feb PAKISTAN/IRAQ Karachi/Baghdad bombs kill 100+
|Bombings in southern Pakistan and Baghdad claimed by Islamic State kill more than 100
Karachi/Baghdad: Two bombings in Iraq and Pakistan claimed by the Islamic State have killed more than 100 people on Thursday.
A suicide bomber attacked a crowded Sufi shrine in southern Pakistan on Thursday, killing at least 72 people and wounding dozens more in the deadliest of a wave of bombings across the South Asian nation this week.
Meanwhile, a car packed with explosives has blown up in southern Baghdad, killing at least 48 people and wounding 55, security and medical sources say, in the deadliest such attack in Iraq this year.
Islamic State, the Middle East-based militant group which has a small but increasingly prominent presence in Pakistan, claimed responsibility for the attack in that country, the group's affiliated news agency AMAQ reported.
Senior police officer Shabbir Sethar told Reuters from a local hospital that the death toll was likely to rise.
"At least 72 are dead and over 150 have been injured," Sethar said by telephone.
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif quickly condemned the bombing, decrying the assault on the Sufi religious minority. He vowed to fight Islamist militants, who target the government, judiciary 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," Mr 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."
The attack on the famous Lal Shahbaz Qalandar shrine in the town of Sehwan Sharif comes as the Pakistani Taliban and other rival Islamist militant groups carry out their threat of a new offensive.
The violence has shattered a period of improving security, underscoring how militants still pose a threat to stability in the nuclear-armed country of 190 million people. The high death toll at the shrine makes it one of the worst attacks in Pakistan in recent years.
In August last year, at least 74 people, mostly lawyers, were killed in a suicide bombing of a hospital in the southwestern city of Quetta. Both a faction of the Pakistani Taliban - Jamaat-ur-Ahrar - and Islamic State claimed responsibility for that atrocity.
Jamaat also said it was responsible for a bombing in the eastern city of Lahore earlier this week that killed 13 people.
The bomber entered the shrine as crowds massed on Thursday, a statement from the Sindh police spokesman said. Rescue officials said dozens of wounded people were being ferried in private cars to hospitals.
Scores killed in Baghdad
Islamic State, which is on the defensive after losing control of eastern Mosul to a US-backed Iraqi military offensive, also claimed responsibility for the bombing in Baghdad in an online statement.
As it cedes territory captured in a 2014 offensive across northern and western Iraq, the ultra-hardline group has stepped up insurgent strikes on government areas, particularly in the capital Baghdad.
Security sources said the vehicle which blew up on Thursday was parked in a crowded street full of garages and used car dealers, in Hayy al-Shurta in the southwest of the city.
The death toll could climb further as many of the wounded are in critical condition, a doctor said.
The bombing is the second to hit car markets this week, suggesting the group has found it easier to leave vehicles laden with explosives in places where hundreds of other vehicles are parked.
A suicide bomber detonated a pick-up truck on Wednesday in the Sadr City suburb in the east of the capital, killing at least 15 people. That explosion took place in a street full of used car dealers.
US-backed Iraqi forces have dislodged Islamic State from most of the cities it captured in 2014 and 2015. The militants also control parts of Syria .
"The maintenance of secrets acts like a psychic poison which alienates the possessor from the community" Carl Jung