Islamabad: A nationwide security crackdown was launched Friday, officials said, after a bomb ripped through a crowded shrine of Lal Shahbaz Qalandar in Sehwan, killing at least 80 people including 20 children and wounding hundreds.
The militant Islamic State group (IS) claimed the attack, which came after a series of bloody extremist assaults this week.
Soldiers standing after the suicide attack at shrine of Lal Shahbaz Qalandar.
“Both the federal and provincial law enforcement authorities and police started a crackdown across the country before dawn, and scores of suspects have been arrested from different cities,” a government official speaking on condition of anonymity told. He said the sweeping operation will continue for the coming days.
A statement from the paramilitary Rangers said at least 18 terrorists had been killed in operations in Sindh overnight, while police officials said 11 more had been killed in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.
Three alleged terrorists were killed during a search and strike operation in Reggi area of Peshawar. According to officials, weapons and hand-grenades were also recovered from the militants.
Security personnel stand guard at the shrine of Lal Shahbaz Qalandar.
Security sources said four terrorists were killed in an exchange of fire with security forces after they attempted to attack a security check-post in Orakzai Agency. Four more were killed in Bannu during an exchange of fire.
Police cordoned off the shrine of Lal Shahbaz Qalandar, a revered 13th century Muslim saint, early Friday, as forensic investigators arrived.
Meanwhile, the death toll from the attack rose to 80 on Friday.
Dr Moeenuddin Siddiqui, Medical Superintendent (MS) of Sehwan Taluka Hospital, said they had received 75 bodies, of which all but 13 had been identified and handed over to relatives. Also, five victims shifted to a hospital in Nawabshah succumbed to their injuries on Friday.
According to the MS, 210 injured were brought to the hospital in Sehwan.