Pakistan Sufi Shrine Suicide Attack 'Kills 41'

Suicide attackers have killed at least 41 people and wounded many more at a shrine in Pakistan, police say.

Photo credit: AP | Pakistani security officials visit a house destroyed by a suicide bomber in the Pakistani tribal area of Darra Adam Khel, near Peshawar

The explosions struck near the Sakhi Sarwar shrine in Punjab, as Sufi Muslim devotees gathered for an annual three-day festival.

Sufis, a minority Muslim group who follow mystical beliefs, are regarded as heretical by hardliners.

A Taliban fighter told reporters his group carried out the attack, the third on Sufi shrines in a year.

Militant Ehsanullah Ehsan told Reuters news agency the attack was in revenge for the government's offensive against militants in Pakistan's north-west.

The blasts hit near the Sakhi Sarwar shrine in Dera Ghazi Khan district, and devotees were reportedly among the dead and wounded.

"We have recovered 41 bodies so far," police officer Zahid Hussain Shah told AFP news agency.

He said both explosions were caused by suicide attackers, adding: "They came on foot and blew themselves up when police on duty stopped them."

Another police officer told reporters that a third attacker was caught before he could detonate his explosives.

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Thousands of people had been marking the annual festival of Urs at the time of the blasts.

Last October, a suicide bombing at another shrine in Punjab province left six people dead.

And earlier in the year a suicide attack on a Lahore shrine killed at least 42 people, making it the most deadly such attack on record.

BBC