Suicide Bomber in SW Pakistan Kills 8 at Islamist Rally
17 February 2020, 18:48
A powerful suicide bombing killed eight people and wounded 16 others in Pakistan’s restive Baluchistan province on Monday, local police said, when it struck an Islamist rally in the regional capital, VOA news reports.
Police said the blast went off near Quetta’s press club, where dozens of supporters for a Sunni militant group had gathered outside. They added that police officers were among those killed.
Hospital officials say some of the wounded persons were listed in critical condition.
No one immediately claimed responsibility for the bombing. Baluch separatist groups, as well as rival Shiite and Sunni militants, operate in the province and have staged similar attacks before.
City police chief Abur Razza Cheema said dozens of followers of the radical Ahle Sunnat Wal Jammat party were rallying to pay tribute to Islam’s first caliph when the bomber blew himself up there.
Footage on social media appeared to show the explosion ripping through the local bazaar, sending people running for shelter.
In yet another sectarian attack in Pakistan by radical Muslims 15 killed and more than 30 injured in #QuettaBombing.— Rahul Upadhyay (@rahulrajnews) February 17, 2020
The suicide bomber wanted to target Ahle Sunnat wa Jama'at rally, but blew himself up when police stopped him. #QuettaBleeds pic.twitter.com/hY5G2iYboS
The bombing destroyed some nearby shops and vehicles, police said.
The impoverished province of Baluchistan has long been the scene of a low-level insurgency by armed groups demanding more autonomy for the region and a greater share in gas and mineral resources there. The government claims it has quelled the insurgency but violence has continued.