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Pakistan mosque bombing kills at least 12 – police

10 Jan 2020 TRT World

Powerful blast kills senior police officer, wounds 16 others in southwest Quetta city, officials say. No claim of responsibility has yet been made for the attack.

Officials say the death toll from the bombing could rise as some of the wounded were in critical condition. (TRTWorld)

A powerful explosion ripped through a mosque in southwest Pakistan during Friday evening prayers, killing a senior police officer and at least 12 civilians, police said.

The bombing also wounded 16 other worshipers in the city of Quetta, the capital of the restive Balochistan province, officials said.

Police chief of Balochistan province Mohsin Hassan Butt told AFP news agency the blast took place in a satellite town near Quetta, the province's main city.

The slain police officer was the likely target of the attack, but authorities were still investigating, Ajmal said. 

Both he and hospital officials said the death toll from the bombing could rise as some of the wounded were in critical condition.

Doctor Mohammad Waseem at Quetta's Sandeman hospital said 10 bodies and 16 injured people had arrived at the facility.

Local newspaper Dawn, citing medical officials, reported 14 deaths and 20 injuries. 

No claim for responsibility

No one immediately claimed responsibility for the bombing. But the attack came just days after a roadside bomb in Quetta hit a paramilitary force vehicle, killing two troops.

Hizbul Ahrar, an offshoot of the Pakistani Taliban [or TTP], claimed responsibility for Tuesday's attack.

Last May, a bombing at a mosque in Quetta killed two people, including the prayer leader, and wounded 28 worshipers. In August, a powerful bomb exploded inside a mosque during Friday prayers on Quena's outskirts.

Although Pakistani militants often carry out such attacks, Balochistan province is also the scene of a low-level insurgency by militants demanding more autonomy and a greater share in the region's natural resources such as gas and oil.

Pakistan's government says it has quelled the insurgency, but violence has continued.

The province shares a long border with Afghanistan and Iran.

Source: TRTWorld and agencies

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