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Pakistan Sufi Shrine Bombing Victims

Rizwan Tabassum / AFP / Getty Images

Pakistan Sufi Shrine Bombing Victims

At least 83 people died in a suicide bombing attack inside the Shrine of Lal Shahbaz Qalandar in Sehwan, Pakistan, Thursday, Feb. 16, 2017, according to multiple news sources.

The attack occurred during a Sufi ritual attended by pilgrims at the shrine. Many of the victims were women and children, and an additional 250 people were wounded.

Sufi is a long-standing tradition in Islam that focuses on the mystic aspects of the religion. Practitioners have been targeted by extremists who follow a more fundamentalist and austere form of Islam. The Islamic State – also known as ISIS, ISIL, or Daesh – has claimed responsibility for the attack.

This month has seen a number of attacks on the government as well as civilians by terrorists, with Thursday’s shrine bombing being the deadliest. The Pakistani government has responded with a crackdown on known terrorist groups within the country.

Despite the attack, the practitioners of Sufi Islam plan to continue to attend their shrines but have called on the government for better protection.

“If they think this blast will create fear among the Sufi people, they are badly mistaken,” Nazar Husain Shah told Reuters, “They have been bombing shrines for long; have people stopped going to shrines?”

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