QUETTA, Dec 13: Two young suicide bombers blew themselves up close to a military checkpoint in Quetta’s Cantonment area on Thursday, killing five soldiers and wounding 22 people, officials said.

“Two personnel of the military police were killed on the spot in the first attack,” the officials said, adding that the second bomber blew himself up 20 minutes after the first attack.

The chief of ISPR, Maj-Gen Waheed Arshad, confirmed seven deaths in the two attacks.

“No civilian was killed in either attack,” he said, adding that nine civilians and 13 military personnel were injured in the bombing.

He said seven people, including the two suicide bombers, had been killed in the attack.

Official sources said that a young, bearded man approached the military checkpoint at the Hana Road, near the Kach More, and when the military police tried to stop him, he blew himself up at about 5pm, killing two military personnel and injuring five.

They said army troops cordoned off the entire area after the bombing, closed the road to all traffic coming from the Hana lake side and took bodies of the victims and the injured to hospital.

Because of the road closure, a large number of people and vehicles collected near the scene of the attack. As the military personnel were busy in the rescue operation and stopping the people from getting close to the scene of the first bombing, the second suicide bomber, also having a beard, detonated his explosives, killing two more military men and injuring many others, including some civilians.

“Bodies of the victims were beyond recognition and their parts were scattered over a wide area,” a witness told Dawn.

The injured military personnel and civilians were taken to the CMH, Quetta. The death toll is likely to go up as six injured people were in a critical condition.

The five military men who died in the attack were identified as Hawaldar Mohammad Hussain, lance naik Shahzad, sepoy Mohammad Usman, sepoy Mohammad Mansha and sepoy Mohammad Ashaq.

Rehmatullah Niazi, DIG Operations, told Dawn that heads of the two suicide bombers had been found. They aged between 22 to 25, he said.

“The face of one of the bombers is intact and a sketch could be easily made,” Mr Niazi said, adding that the face of the other suicide bomber was partially damaged, but a plastic surgery would make it recognizable, he said.

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