8 Oct 2010

Bombers kill nine at Pakistan shrine

6:31 am on 8 October 2010

At least nine people have been killed by two suicide bombers at a Sufi shrine in the Pakistani city of Karachi.

Officials say two children were among those killed and some 55 people were wounded.

The blasts hit the Abdullah Shah Ghazi shrine in Clifton district as people were leaving evening prayers.

Witnesses said they occurred close to the entrance to the shrine on its busiest night of the week, when people had gathered to distribute food to the poor.

The BBC reports no-one has claimed responsibility for the explosions.

Babar Khattak, the top police officer in Sindh province, said the blasts happened about 10 seconds apart, close to a metal detector checking people entering the mosque.

The Sufi community in Karachi has declared three days of mourning, during which all Sufi shrines in the city will be closed.

Officials said security is also being tightened at mosques and other sensitive areas in Karachi.

Similarity to attack in Lahore

President Asif Ali Zardari has condemned the incident "in the strongest possible terms".

The BBC reports Pakistan has seen a significant rise in suicide bombings in recent years.

The Karachi blast appears to echo a double suicide attack on another Sufi shrine in Lahore in July.

More than 40 people were killed and nearly 200 injured in that incident, which targeted the Data Darbar shrine.