QUETTA: A powerful explosion killed at least 10 people and injured 35 other on Friday evening in Quetta, the capital of restive Balochistan province, police said.
Muhammad Jaffar, the Deputy Inspector General Police (Operations) said militants had planted explosive material inside a bicycle parked in the Science College Chowk area of Quetta.
He said the bomb exploded when a local bus was passing through the spot.
Another police official, who requested anonymity as he was not authorised to speak to the media, told Dawn.com that target of the blast was a Frontier Corps’ vehicle, which narrowly escaped the attack.
Capital City Police Officer (CCPO) Quetta, Razaq Cheema confirmed that 10 people, including one security personnel, were killed in the blast. “Most of the victims are civilians,” Cheema added.
|Photo from the blast site
“I was going in local bus to Sariab when there was a huge blast,” an injured eyewitness told Dawn.com.
The injured were rushed to Civil Hospital and the Combined Military Hospital for emergency treatment. An emergency was imposed at both hospitals to treat the injured of the blast.
The bodies were shifted to Civil Hospital Quetta for postmortem.
“The dead bodies are yet to be identified,” Dr. Rasheed Jamali, the medical officer at the Civil Hospital. He said all senior doctors and paramedics had been called in to treat the injured.
The powerful explosion was heard far and wide causing panic in the city, which was already under the grip of violent attacks.
Also read: Suicide bomber kills 11 in Peshawar
Thick black smoke from the roaring flames could be seen from a distance soon after the blast. Fire fighters rushed to the area to put out the fire. The strength of the blast smashed the window panes of nearby shops and shopping centers.
Four rickshaws and three vehicles passing near the site also caught fire.
Science College Chowk remained blocked for over four hours for traffic as investigators searched through the wreckage.
Ahrarul Hind claims responsibility: report
According to foreign news agency Reuters, Taliban splinter group Ahrarul Hind claimed responsibility for the attack. “We claim both Peshawar and Quetta attacks,” Reuters quoted their chief Umar Qasmi as saying. “We don't abide by these talks and will continue to stage attacks.”
The leadership of militant group Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), which the Pakistani government has engaged in peace talks to end a seven-year insurgency, immediately distanced itself from the Friday attacks.
|Firefighters extinguish fire on burning vehicles at the site of the bomb attack.—Reuters Photo