Bomb Blast Kills Five at Sufi Shrine in Pakistan
A bomb blast at a Sufi shrine in Pakistan has killed at least five people and wounded at least 12 others. No group immediately claimed responsibility for the attack.
Pakistani security officials say the bomb was planted at the gate of a famous Sufi shrine in the eastern region of the country.
Regional Police Chief Amjad Javed Saleem spoke to reporters at the scene of the attack.
Saleem says two men riding a motorbike left a container near the gate of the shrine as if they were bringing milk for the worshippers.
The men then left the scene and the explosion occurred. The bomb, in Pak Pattan in Punjab Province, erupted into a huge fireball that blew up a boundary wall and damaged several shops and stalls outside the shrine.
Police say the mausoleum of Baba Farid, a 12th century saint, was not damaged.
Sufi worshippers, who follow a mystical strain of Islam, have increasingly been the target of bloody attacks by suspected Islamic militants in Pakistan.
The Pak Pattan site is the second most popular Sufi shrine after the Data Darbar shrine in the eastern city of Lahore, where two suicide bombers attacked crowds of worshippers last July, killing more than 40 people.
Early this month two suicide bombers struck a Sufi shrine in Karachi, Pakistan's largest city, killing at least eight people.
Sunni Muslim extremists, including the Taliban, are vehemently opposed to the Sufi strand of Islam and consider their shrines as idolatrous.
Separately, officials say a roadside bomb struck a passenger van, killing three people in the Orakzai tribal region.
The Pakistani military declared victory in Orakzai in June after pounding Taliban militants with air strikes and artillery, but attacks and military operations in the area have continued.
Article by Meredith Buel, VOA News