Pakistan: Suicide blast kills 7 in Quetta

By Aamir Latif

KARACHI, Pakistan (AA): A suspected suicide bomber detonated himself up near a police patrolling vehicle in Quetta, the capital of southwestern Balochistan province killing seven persons, and injured another 15 on Tuesday evening, police and local media reported.

The suspected bomber, who acted alone, targeted a patrolling truck at busy Zargoon road- just 300 meters away from state assembly building- , provincial police chief, Moazzam jah Ansari told reporters.

The dead included five policemen, Ansari said adding that various injured had received life-threatening wounds.

The attack occurred hours after resignation of the provincial chief minister following a no-confidence move by the opposition

Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), a conglomerate of several militant groups operating in Pakistan, in a statement, claimed responsibility for the suicide attack- latest in a string of similar incidents in recent past.

Aired on Geo TV, footage showed honking ambulances rushing to the site, and shifting the injured to the hospitals. Blood-soaked shoes, pieces of clothes, caps, and glasses were scattered around the site and the sidewalks.

The large Baluchistan province, which is also considered to cover parts of neighboring Iran and Afghanistan, is strategically important because of the rich presence of copper, zinc and natural gas but has beset by violence for over six decades, with separatists claiming that it was forcibly incorporated into Pakistan at the end of British rule in 1947.

Outlawed militant groups like Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), and Lashkar-e-Jhangvi have mostly been involved in attacks on security forces in recent years.

The province, especially its capital Quetta, has also been facing a deadly wave of sectarian violence for last one decade. Over 2000 people-mostly Shiites- have been killed in targeted attacks and suicide bombings in Quetta and other parts of the province in last ten years.

[Archive Photo: Bus suicide attack in Quetta on 1 January 2015. Photo by Stringer/AA]

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