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Death toll leaps to 128 in Pakistan bombing

Press Association logoPress Association 13/07/2018 By Associated Press Reporters
Pakistani Frontier Constabulary (FC) personnel gather in Mastung on July 13, 2018, following a bomb blast here at an election rally. - A bomb killed at least 70 people and injured 40 others during a rally in Pakistan's restive Balochistan province, in the day's second attack on a political event ahead of the July 25 election. (Photo by BANARAS KHAN / AFP)        (Photo credit should read BANARAS KHAN/AFP/Getty Images) © Getty Pakistani Frontier Constabulary (FC) personnel gather in Mastung on July 13, 2018, following a bomb blast here at an election rally. - A bomb killed at least 70 people and injured 40 others during a rally in Pakistan's restive Balochistan province, in the day's second attack on a political event ahead of the July 25 election. (Photo by BANARAS KHAN / AFP) (Photo credit should read BANARAS KHAN/AFP/Getty Images)

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

Provincial caretaker home minister Agha Umar Bungalzai said about 300 people were also wounded on Friday when the bomber targeted a rally for candidate Siraj Raisani, who was running for a seat in the provincial legislature.

The attack took place in Mastung, a town in the south-western Baluchistan province.

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Video Several Dead After Election Rally Bomb Blast In Pakistani City of Bannu [Storyful]

The attack was the deadliest yet ahead of the July 25 parliamentary election and it came despite assurance from the military that it would take all possible measures to ensure a peaceful environment for the vote.

The Islamic State group has claimed responsibility for the attack.

The group gave no reason for the bombing that killed Siraj Raisani, who was running for the election on the Baluchistan Awami Party ticket.

Raisani was attending a rally in Mastung, a town in Baluchistan, when the suicide bomber targeted him.

Pakistani Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) activists shout slogans as they start a journey towards Lahore to welcome former prime minister Nawaz Sharif on his return from London, in Peshawar on July 13, 2018. - Pakistan authorities locked down parts of Lahore on July 13 for the return from London of former premier Nawaz Sharif, who faces possible arrest and a 10-year prison sentence ahead of already tense elections his party insists are being rigged. (Photo by ABDUL MAJEED / AFP)        (Photo credit should read ABDUL MAJEED/AFP/Getty Images) © Getty Pakistani Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) activists shout slogans as they start a journey towards Lahore to welcome former prime minister Nawaz Sharif on his return from London, in Peshawar on July 13, 2018. - Pakistan authorities locked down parts of Lahore on July 13 for the return from London of former premier Nawaz Sharif, who faces possible arrest and a 10-year prison sentence ahead of already tense elections his party insists are being rigged. (Photo by ABDUL MAJEED / AFP) (Photo credit should read ABDUL MAJEED/AFP/Getty Images)

The violence came as disgraced former prime minister Nawaz Sharif returned to Pakistan.

Mr Sharif has returned with his daughter Mariam to face a 10-year prison sentence on corruption charges, anti-corruption officials said.

Mariam Sharif faces seven years in jail.

Ousted Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and his daughter Maryam sit on a Lahore-bound flight due for departure, at Abu Dhabi International Airport © Reuters Ousted Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and his daughter Maryam sit on a Lahore-bound flight due for departure, at Abu Dhabi International Airport Police use force to disperse supporters of former prime minister Nawaz Sharif, who gathered to see him in Lahore (K.M. Chaudary/AP)

The suicide bombing was the second election-related violence to take place on Friday.

The first bomb killed four people when it exploded in the north-west, near the election rally of a senior politician from an Islamist party who is running for parliament from the town of Bannu.

The explosion targeted candidate Akram Khan Durrani, who escaped unhurt, police said.

Mr Durrani is running against popular former MP Imran Khan. He is a candidate of Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal, an election alliance of radical religious groups.

Mr Khan, who hopes to become the next prime minister, condemned Friday’s attack against his opponent, Mr Durrani.

In a tweet, he said there seems to be a conspiracy to sabotage the vote. But he said the people of Pakistan will not allow anything to prevent “historic” elections from taking place.

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