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Since 2016, however, it has been facing a growing threat of attacks from ISIL, which has claimed responsibility for several suicide attacks, particularly those targeting Sufi shrines such as the one attacked on Thursday.

A regional official said the bomber detonated his explosives after being stopped at the gate of the shrine by a policeman.

Kakar added later that 13 people had been killed, and 20 others were seriously injured.

Rescue officials fear the death toll could rise as the blast occured when the shrine was witnessing a heavy rush of devotees on Thursday, when devotees gather at the shrine of the revered Sufi saint to participate in a Sufi dance called dhamal and prayers.

In February, a suicide bomber had killed more than 80 people and injured 250 others in an attack on the shrine of Lal Shahbaz Qalandar in Sehwan Sharif in Sindh.

Balochistan Home Minister Mir Sarfaraz Bugti told the media that 18 people including a police constable and three children were killed in the blast.

The minister said that around 25 people were injured in the blast and they were shifted to different hospitals. Jhal Magsi is a district located in central Balochistan which is nearly 294 km away from the provincial capital Quetta.

Islamic State claimed responsibility for the attack via its Amaq news service.

Initial probe showed that the blast occurred when dhamal was going in the premises of the shrine.

The local administration has declared an emergency at hospitals in Sibbi and Dera Murad Jamali.

Earlier, unconfirmed reports indicated that the death toll has further increased to fourteen people but the local officials have not confirmed the toll so far.

A greater push towards peace and development by authorities has reduced violence in recent years, but the remnants of militant groups are still able to carry out periodic attacks, particularly in the northwest.


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