Published: Sun, August 13, 2017
Worldwide | By Gretchen Simon

At least 15 dead, 32 injured in Quetta blast

At least 15 dead, 32 injured in Quetta blast

At least 15 people died and over were 32 injured in a high-intensity bomb blast in Quetta's Pishin Stop area in Pakistan on Saturday.

A statement by the Pakistani military said the explosion targeted an on-duty vehicle and set several other vehicles on fire. "Incendiary explosives were used in the attack", it added. Reportedly, vehicles in the immediate vicinity caught fire and over ten water tenders were on the site to control the situation.

Balochistan Province's Home Minister Sarfraz Bugti said the explosion occurred near a private hospital. No group has claimed the attack yet.

At least 14 people - including seven policemen - lost their lives, while 19 others were injured in a suicide blast that shook Shuhada Chowk in Quetta's Gulistan Road area in June.

The local affiliate has been known to work with Pakistani militant groups in previous attacks.

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He said the security forces were establishing a check-post in Jumjumah Qala area, but the Taliban tried to prevent them. It came after a U.S. airstrike in Sangin killed at least 18 civilians, mostly women and children, in February.

Bugti said an investigation was launched to determine the nature of the blast and whether it was a terrorist attack.

President Mamnoon Hussain, Chief of the Army Staff Qamar Javed Bajwa and deposed Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif all condemned the attack.

He said in a statement that it was an attempt to mar the independence day festivities.

"Our resolve won't succumb to any challenge", Bajwa was quoted as saying in an official tweet from a top military spokesman.

The large Balochistan 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.

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