Not less than 31 people have been killed in a powerful bomb that went off at a Shia mosque in southern Pakistan, officials say. Police said that at least 50 others were wounded in the attack after Friday prayers in the Shikarpur district of Sindh province. BBC reports:
The death toll is expected to rise as many of the wounded are in a critical condition. Local media reports suggest that the blast could have been a suicide attack, but police are investigating.
It is not yet clear who carried out the attack but Sunni militant groups have targeted the Shia minority in the past. A number of people were trapped after the roof of the mosque collapsed due to the force of the explosion, local media said. Witness Zahid Zoon told AFP news agency that hundreds of people rushed to the scene after the blast to try to dig out survivors from the rubble.
“It is chaos,” he said.
Senior police official Abdul Qudoos Kalwar said that four children were among the dead, according to the Associated Press news agency. Several of the most severely wounded patients were taken to hospitals in the cities of Larkana and Sukkur.
Dr Shaukat Ali Memon, from the hospital in Shikarpur which received the first of those wounded, made an appeal on state television for blood donations.