KARACHI, Pakistan — Two suspected suicide bombers have attacked the most beloved Sufi shrine in Pakistan's largest city, killing at least eight people, wounding 65 others, and sending a stark reminder of the threat posed by Islamist militants to this US-allied nation.
Angry mobs burned tires and torched buses in the aftermath of the bombings in Karachi late Thursday.
The explosions at the Abdullah Shah Ghazi shrine in southern port city of Karachi happened at the busiest time of the week when thousands typically visit to pray, distribute food to the poor and toss rose petals on the grave of the saint. The dead included two children.
Ghazi was an 8th century saint credited with bringing Islam to the region along the coast. Local legend has it that his shrine protects Karachi from cyclones and other sea-related disasters.
Pakistani Sufi sites have frequently been the target of Islamist militant groups, whose hardline interpretations of the religion leave no room for the more mystical Sufi practices that are common in this Sunni Muslim-majority nation of 175 million.
The first explosion took place as the suspected bomber was going through the metal detector before a long staircase leading to the main shrine area, said Babar Khattak, the top police official in Sindh province. The second blast took place about 10 seconds later, farther ahead of the metal detector, he said.