On the morning of Friday January 30th, a bomb detonated at a Shia mosque in the southern Pakistani city of Shikarpur which killed over 50 people and wounded dozens of others. The blast occurred after Shia worshipers concluded Friday prayers. Many of those present died from the initial explosion but many others were subsequently trapped after the roof of the mosque collapsed from the blast.
According to BBC the Jundullah militant group has taken responsibility for the attack. This group is closely linked to the Pakistani Taliban, but has also declared an allegiance to ISIS in 2014. “Our target was the Shia mosque…They are our enemies”, said a Jundullah spokesperson according to The Globe and Mail News.
Currently the city is on lock down as the Pakistani security forces investigate the attack. According to reports, residents and officials are trying to figure out whether this was a suicide bombing or not in addition to apprehending those responsible for the the attack.
This attack comes under the backdrop of Operation Zarb-e-Azb which is the Pakistani military offensive that has delayed tens of thousands of soldiers to the Federally Administered Tribal Areas, including North Waziristan, to weaken the power and influence of the Pakistani Taliban.
The most notable response from the Pakistani Taliban to the increased pressure from the Pakistani armed forces has been the attack by affiliated militants on a military school in Peshawar which killed 134 children.
Human Rights Watch reported that more than 800 Shia have been killed in attacks since 2012. Shia Rights Watch, which tracks the number of Shia deaths from violent acts around the world, estimates that between 900 and 1,000 Shia have been killed in 2014 alone.
BBC Article: http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-31056086
The Globe and Mail Article: http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/world/deadly-blast-at-shia-mosque-in-pakistan-as-sectarian-violence-grows/article22716554/