QUETTA: At least 10 people, including four security personnel and a girl, lost their lives in a suicide attack on a convoy of Frontier Corps (FC) near the district courts here on Saturday.
Some 35 people, 15 FC personnel among them, were injured in the attack. The condition of three of the personnel was said to be serious.
The banned Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) claimed responsibility for the attack.
Provincial Home Secretary Akbar Hussain Durrani said the attack was carried out by a suicide bomber who hit a vehicle in the FC convoy when it was on Iqbal Road.
Sources said the explosion occurred when the FC vehicles were close to the building of district courts. The blast destroyed a truck carrying FC personnel and two other vehicles in the convoy.
Eight people were killed on the spot and at least 36 others injured. The personnel of FC and other law enforcement agencies rushed to the crime scene as did rescue teams.
They cordoned off the blast site and moved the bodies and the injured to the Civil Hospital.
“We received eight bodies and over 35 people who had been injured,” the duty officer at the hospital, Dr Ajab Khan, told Dawn.
He said a 13-year-old girl was among those killed. “Most of the victims were hit by splinters and some had received serious burn injuries,” he said, adding that at least six seriously injured people had been transferred to the Combined Military Hospital (CMH).
Two seriously injured men died of their wounds later, taking the death toll to 10.
Quetta police DIG Imtiaz Shah confirmed that it was a suicide attack. “The man who killed himself was carrying explosives on a bicycle that exploded near an FC truck,” he said.
Official sources said that footage from a CCTV camera installed near the crime scene showed that the assailant was carrying a water cooler on his bike. The man blew himself up when he was near the FC truck.
“Some body parts of the suicide bomber were found at the blast site,” a police source said.
Mr Shah said at least eight kilograms of explosives were used in the attack.
The Quetta DIG confirmed that TTP had claimed responsibility for the deadly assault.
The explosion was so powerful that some of the victims’ body parts were recovered from the backyard of the district courts building.
The deafening explosion shattered windowpanes of some nearby buildings, the Quetta Press Club, District Courts and the Quetta Metropolitan Corporation among them.
The girl who died was travelling in an auto rickshaw which was destroyed, an eyewitness said. “However, two women who were in the vehicle near the FC truck targeted by the assailant remained unhurt,” he told Dawn.
An FC spokesman said earlier in the day that three soldiers, including a driver, died in the attack. Fifteen others were injured.
In a statement, Chief Minister Nawab Sanaullah Zehri said that Rs1 million would be given in compensation to heirs of each of the deceased and Rs500,000 each to the injured.
According to sources, eight of the 10 people killed in the attack were Lance Naik Mohammad Asif, Hawaldar Azhar, Mohammad Ramzan, Hizbullah, Abdul Ali, Abdul Hakeem, Liaquat Ali and Samreen.
An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated that the attack was claimed by Khurasani group of the banned Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan. The error has been rectified.
Published in Dawn, February 7th, 2016