Friday, January 11, 2013



January 11, 2013
Quetta blasts leave 70 people dead, 120 others injured
DAWN.COM | 9 hours ago
Pakistani security officials examine the site of a bomb attack in Quetta on January 10, 2013. – Photo by AFP

QUETTA: Four bomb explosions took place in the provincial capital on late Thurday, leaving at least 70 people dead and 120 others injured, DawnNews reported.

Two suicide bombers blew themselves up at a crowded snooker club, a senior police officer said.

The first suicide bomber detonated his device inside the club, then about 10 minutes later another attacker in a car outside the building blew himself up as police, media workers and rescue teams rushed to the site, a police officer told AFP.

Eight of the dead are reported to be police officials. A cameraman from a private television channel was also killed, along with four Edhi workers.

Two more explosions took place near Airport road, according to reports.

The injured have been rushed to local hospitals and are said to be in critical condition. Police said the bombings disrupted power supplies and plunged the area into darkness.

The attacks happened in a predominately Shia neighbourhood and banned sectarian group Lashkar-i-Jhangvi has claimed responsibility, Reuters reported.

The Hazara Democratic Party announced three days of mourning in response to the attacks.

Earlier on in the day, 12 people were killed after a blast that took place near Quetta’s Bacha Khan chowk.
Deadly Day In Pakistan: Dozens Killed In Multiple Blasts In Quetta
January 10, 2013 4:39 PM
Pakistani police officers and residents gather at the site of a bomb blast that targeted paramilitary soldiers in a commercial area in the city of Quetta, killing 11 people. Later in the day, twin blasts at a snooker club in the city killed at least 80 people.

Back-to-back bomb blasts in the Pakistani city of Quetta on Thursday have claimed the lives of at least 80 people.

"The death toll has risen to 81 so far," Mir Zubair Mehmood, a senior police official, said at a news conference. He said 121 people were wounded. His comments were reported by the privately owned Geo TV.

Hamid Shakil, the deputy inspector general of police for the city, told the news channel that a suicide bomber blew himself up inside a snooker club. Ten minutes later, there was a second explosion, he said, that claimed the lives of people who had rushed in after the first blast. The dead include police personnel, journalists and rescue workers, Geo TV reported.

The BBC reports that the area is predominantly Shiite Muslim; Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, a Sunni extremist group, claimed responsibility. A spokesman for the group said the second explosion was caused by a car bomb.

The twin blasts followed an explosion in a market area of Quetta, the capital of Baluchistan, earlier in the day. Eleven people were killed in that blast; 27 were wounded. The Associated Press reported that the United Baluch Army, a separatist group, claimed responsibility.

Here's more from the BBC about the backdrop to the blasts:

Balochistan is plagued by both a separatist rebellion and sectarian infighting between Sunnis and Shias.
The Taliban and armed groups that support them also carry out attacks in the province, particularly in areas near the Afghan border. Pakistan's military has been engaged in a long-running battle against those militant groups.
Pakistan bomb blasts kill 115
The Associated Press Posted: Jan 10, 2013 1:47 PM ET Last Updated: Jan 10, 2013 5:25 PM ET
An injured man lies in a hospital after the second bomb blast in Quetta on Thursday. Twin explosions in different parts of the city, including one outside of a pool hall, killed dozens of people. (Naseer Ahmed/Reuters)
A series of bombings in different parts of Pakistan killed 103 people on Thursday, including 69 who died in a sectarian attack on a bustling billiard hall in the southwest city of Quetta, officials said.

The blasts punctuated one of the deadliest days in recent years in Pakistan, where the government faces a bloody insurgency by Taliban militants in the northwest and Baluch militants in the southwest.

The country is also home to many enemies of the U.S. that Washington has frequently targeted with drone attacks. A U.S. missile strike Thursday killed five suspected militants in the seventh such attack in two weeks, Pakistani intelligence officials said.

The billiard hall in Quetta, the capital of Baluchistan province, was hit by twin blasts about 10 minutes apart on Thursday night, killing 81 people and wounding more 120 others, said senior police officer Hamid Shakeel.

Pakistani security officials examine the site of a bomb attack in Quetta on Thursday that killed 12 people and wounded more than 40 others. (Banaras Khan/Agence France-Presse/Getty Images)
The billiard hall was located in an area dominated by Shia Muslims, and most of the dead and wounded were from the minority sect, said another police officer, Mohammed Murtaza. Many of the people who rushed to the scene after the first blast and were hit by the second bomb, which caused the roof of the building to collapse, he said.

Police officers, journalists and rescue workers who responded to the initial explosion were also among the dead, police said.

The sectarian militant group Lashkar-e-Jhangvi claimed responsibility for the attack to local journalists. One of the group's spokesmen, Bakar Saddiq, said the first blast was carried out by a suicide bomber and the second was a bomb planted in a car and detonated by remote control.

Attack in commercial area
Radical Sunnis groups often target Pakistan's Shia minority, whom they believe hold heretical views and are not true Muslims.

Canada's Foreign Affairs Minister, John Baird, issued a strong condemnation.

"This type of violent extremism is entirely despicable," he said in a statement. "It is a stark reminder that the greatest threat to Pakistan is terrorist entities operating within its borders."

Earlier in the day, a bomb targeting paramilitary soldiers in a commercial area in Quetta killed 12 people and wounded more than 40 others, said Shakeel, the senior police officer.

The United Baluch Army, a separatist group, claimed responsibility for the attack on the soldiers in calls to local journalists.

Elsewhere in Pakistan, a bomb in a crowded Sunni mosque in the northwest city of Mingora killed 22 people and wounded more than 70, said senior police officer Akhtar Hayyat.
Pakistani security officials examine the site of a bomb attack in Quetta on Thursday that killed 12 people and wounded more than 40 others. (Banaras Khan/Agence France-Presse/Getty Images)

No group claimed responsibility for the attack.

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