A religious gathering in Pakistan on Friday was the target of a suicide bombing, resulting in the death of a total of 52 people and the wounding of more than 50 others, according to medical and police officials.
The attack, which came at a time of heightened attacks by Islamic militants in the country, further heightened tensions ahead of the upcoming national elections.
The incident occurred following another bomb blast in a mosque in the Balochistan province, which borders Afghanistan, in which two people were reported to have been killed.
The roof of the mosque collapsed in the aftermath of the attack, leaving an estimated 30-40 people trapped beneath the debris.
The Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), which has been responsible for some of Pakistan’s bloodiest attacks since its inception in 2007, has denied responsibility for Friday’s attack.
Balochistan district health official Abdul Rasheed said that at least 58 people had been injured in the blast, with the death toll likely to rise as many were still in critical condition.
Television images showed scores of people helping to transport the wounded to medical facilities. “The bomber blew himself up near the DSP’s car,” said DIG Police Munir Ahmed.
Last month, a suicide bomber killed over 40 people at a gathering of religious political parties in the northwestern province of Khyber Pahghwa.