Pakistan says kills 100 'terrorists' after suicide shrine attack

Fri Feb 17, 2017 1:00pm EST
 
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By Syed Raza Hassan

SEHWAN SHARIF, Pakistan (Reuters) - Pakistani security forces killed dozens of suspected militants on Friday, a day after Islamic State claimed a suicide bombing that killed more than 80 worshippers at a Sufi shrine, the biggest in a spate of attacks this week across the country.

The bombing at the famed Lal Shahbaz Qalandar shrine in southern Sindh province was Pakistan's deadliest attack for two years, killing at least 83 people and highlighting the threat of militant groups such as the Pakistani Taliban and Islamic State.

The security response was swift.

"Over 100 terrorists have been killed since last night and sizeable apprehensions also made," the military said in an operations update on Friday evening.

"Terrorists will be targeted ruthlessly, indiscriminately, anywhere and everywhere. No let up," an armed forces spokesman added in a tweet.

With authorities facing angry criticism for failing to tighten security before the shrine bomber struck, analysts warned that the wave of violence pointed to a major escalation in Islamist militants' attempts to destabilize the region.

"This is a virtual declaration of war against the state of Pakistan," said Imtiaz Gul, head of the independent Center for Research and Security Studies in Islamabad.

With pressure growing for action, Pakistan demanded that neighboring Afghanistan hand over 76 "terrorists" it said were sheltering over the border.   Continued...

 
A man beats his head as he mourns the death of a relative who was killed in a suicide blast at the tomb of Sufi saint Syed Usman Marwandi, also known as the Lal Shahbaz Qalandar shrine, on Thursday evening in Sehwan Sharif, Pakistan's southern Sindh province, February 17, 2017. REUTERS/Akhtar Soomro