Thursday, June 22, 2017

Police office targeted in deadly Quetta blast

http://www.aljazeera.com/news/2017/06/pakistan-police-office-struck-deadly-quetta-blast-170623043059409.html




Explosion strikes near provincial police chief's office, killing at least nine people and wounding 12 others.

Asad Hashim

Authorities said the explosives were detonated when the vehicle was stopped by the police [Saadullah Akhter/Al Jazeera]

Islamabad, Pakistan - At least nine people have been killed and 12 wounded in a car bomb attack near the provincial police chief’s office in the southwestern Pakistani city of Quetta, officials say.

The explosion on Friday morning targeted a police checkpost near the complex housing the Balochistan police chief's office, local police officer Muhammad Akbar said.

At least five police officers were among those killed, Ali Mardan, a senior police officer, told Al Jazeera.

Five of the wounded were in critical condition, he said.

"They have splinter and shrapnel injuries mostly. There were no gunshot wounds," said Mardan. 

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Initial reports indicated a vehicle approached the checkpost and explosives were set off when the driver of the vehicle was stopped by the police, provincial government spokesperson Anwar ul Haq Kakar told local television channel Geo News.

"At 8:45am (03:45 GMT), there was an old car, a Toyota Corolla ... that came here near the [police chief’s] office and it was stopped by the police personnel. That is when the blast took place," he said.

"There was no exchange of fire, but it's possible that law-enforcement personnel may have fired into the air."

Television footage showed a destroyed vehicle at the scene and debris spread across a wide area.

Quetta, the provincial capital of Balochistan province, has seen frequent attacks targeting government buildings and security forces, as well as civilians.

In February, two bomb disposal squad members were killed and 11 others wounded in an explosion under Quetta's Saryab bridge, local media reported.

In August last year, at least 74 people were killed in a suicide attack on the city’s Civil Hospital, while another 60 were killed in an attack on a police academy two months later.

Past attacks in the province have been claimed by the Pakistani Taliban, ISIL, as well as by Baloch separatist fighters who are fighting for independence from Pakistan.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for Friday’s attack.

Al Jazeera's Kamal Hyder, reporting from Islamabad, said the IG's office was the likely target of the attack.

"The attack took place in the red zone, close to the IG's office as well as the State Bank of Pakistan," he said.

"Authorities are saying the IG's office could've been the target."

Source: Al Jazeera News

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