A bomb blast ripped through a Shiite mosque in southern Pakistan as worshipers were gathering for Friday prayers, killing 49 people and wounding dozens more, officials said.
The blast was one of the deadliest sectarian attacks to hit the country in years and comes as Pakistan is already struggling to contain a surging militancy following the horrific Peshawar school attack that killed 150 people, most of them children, in December.
The Sunni militant group Jundullah claimed responsibility for the attack, which took place in the city of Shikarpur in Sindh province, roughly 500 kilometers (310 miles) north of Karachi.
This area of Pakistan has largely been spared the intense attacks and violence seen over the years in the northwestern tribal areas bordering Afghanistan and also the port city of Karachi, indicating the country’s terrorism challenges could be extending into new territory.
Hadi Bakhsh Zardari, the deputy commissioner of Shikarpur district where the blast hit, gave the death toll and said 31 wounded are still in area hospitals.
This story is compiled with information from The Associated Press.