Death toll in IS-claimed Pakistan blast jumps to 128


An explosion targeting a political rally in the northwestern Pakistan city of Bannu has killed ten people, police officials say, the second such attack this week, raising fears of violence ahead of a July 25 general election.

"Initially the death toll was not high but many critically injured persons including Siraj Raisani passed away in hospitals", Balochistan's caretaker health minister Faiz Kakar said.

The blast - which was claimed by the Islamic State group - ripped through the crowd in the town of Mastung near the Balochistan provincial capital Quetta.

The death toll from a suicide bombing at an election rally in Pakistan's southwest has risen to 128, a government official has confirmed.

Speaking to reporters after the attack, JUI-F leader Akram Khan Durrani said the blast took place near the tire of his jeep when he was passing through Haved Bazaar after addressing an election rally.

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Siraj, the younger brother of former Balochistan chief minister Aslam Raisani, was attacked during a corner meeting organised for the promotion of his candidature.

The explosion comes hours after four people were killed and 39 injured when a bomb hidden inside a motorcycle detonated near a Pakistani politician's convoy in the country's northwest near the Afghan border.

On Tuesday, a bomb claimed by the Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) militant group targeted a rally by the Awami National Party (ANP) in the city of Peshawar. He later visited the injured in a hospital in Bannu and said that his vehicle was damaged in the attack.

In July 2011, Siraj Raisani lost his 14-year-old son in a terrorist attack in Mastung, in which several others, including security personnel, were killed. "Saddened to learn of Nawabzada Siraj Raisini's shahadat in this targeted attack as well as the shahadat of 15 other innocent citizens".

Local ANP leader Haroon Bilour was among those killed.

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Pakistan People's Party (PPP) Chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari demanded that the security of contesting candidates be ensured.

Following the series of attacks this week, activists called for Pakistani authorities to remain vigilant to protect candidates during the final days of the campaign season.

It came as Pakistan's caretaker government launched a crackdown on political gatherings.

Security situation in Pakistan has dramatically improved in recent years, with the military cracking down on militancy that has cost tens of thousands of lives in the past decade.

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