Death toll from Pakistan shrine blasts rises to 50

Updated: 2011-04-04 20:26


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ISLAMABAD - The death toll from twin deadly suicide attacks near a crowded Sufi shrine in Pakistan's eastern Punjab province has risen to 50, doctors said Monday.

Several critically injured in the Sunday attacks died of wounds in hospitals, TV channels quoted hospital sources as saying.

Senior Advisor in Punjab government, Sardar Latif Khosa, told reporters at the attack site that the third would-be suicide bomber, who was injured and arrested, was questioned by a joint investigation team on Monday.

The captured, identified as Fida Hussain, told the investigators that he and two other bombers had arrived from the northwest Khyber Pakhtoonkhwa province three days ago for the attacks. He said that they had stayed at a hostel in Dera Ghazi Khan city.

Three more suspects were arrested from the garrison city of Rawalpindi in connection with the shrine attacks, TV channels reported.  

All of them visited the shrine twice and planned the attack on Sunday to cause more casualties, security sources was quoted as saying.

The suspects also said that the attack was planned in the Bajaur tribal region, a former stronghold of the Taliban militants in the country's restive northwest.

The shrine of Syed Ahmad Sakhi Sarwar in Dera Ghazi Khan district was reopened to a large number of visitors Monday morning. Police were deployed and walk-through gates were installed at the shrine entrance gates.    

A purported Taliban spokesman, Ahmadullah Ahmadi, had claimed responsibility for the attacks on the plea that it was a reaction to the army's operation against the militants.

Security measures have been taken for Sufi shrines across Pakistan after Sunday attacks.

It was the fifth major assaults on Sufi shrines in Pakistan in 18 months, in which hundreds of people were killed and many others wounded. The Pakistani Taliban, opposing people visiting shrines, had claimed responsibility for all the attacks.


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