Pakistan’s military responds after deadly shrine blast

Islamabad, Pakistan (CNN) — Pakistan’s military has launched a crackdown on what it says are terrorists with ties to Afghanistan after a suicide attack on a packed shrine in the southern city of Sehwan killed at least 88 worshipers.

The number of people injured in Thursday’s attack on the famed Lal Shahbaz Qalandar shrine has climbed to 200, Fazal Pechuho, health secretary for Pakistan’s Sindh province, said Friday.

Of the dead, 24 were children ages 4 to 8. Another 16 of the victims were women, according to Dr. Zahid Hussain, a local hospital official.

Thousands of worshipers, including families with children, had gathered Thursday at the more than 800-year-old shrine for the Sufi ritual of Dhamal, which involves music, chanting and prayer.

The Islamic State Khorasan, ISIS’ affiliate in Afghanistan and Pakistan, claimed responsibility for the bombing in a phone call to CNN.

In response, the Pakistani military said it had shut down the border with Afghanistan, killed more than 100 terrorists and arrested many others throughout country.

Additionally, Pakistan demanded that the Afghan government turn over more than 75 people who allegedly planned, directed and supported terrorism across the border, the military said.

Pakistan military officials also called Gen. John W. Nicholson, commander of the American-led international military force in Afghanistan, to request assistance in the fight against leaders and financiers of terror groups hiding on the other side of the border.

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