Death toll in Pakistan attacks climbs to 52

Toll rises in suicide attack in Quetta

Gulf News

Islamabad: Police officials say the death toll from several weekend bombings in Pakistan has climbed to 52 after three victims died overnight from their wounds.

The death toll from a suicide bombing in a residential township of the Hazara community in Quetta, capital of Pakistan’s restive Balochistan province, has risen to 30, police said Monday as the bereaved buried their dead.

Police said the attack Sunday night in the Hazara Town of Quetta also injured 56 people and two of them expired in hospital later, raising the number of fatalities.

A bomber blew himself up when he was stopped for body search outside an Imambrgah (place of worship and religious gatherings), leaving 28 people dead, including nine women and three children.

The victims were laid to rest Monday amid tight security while markets and business centres in Quetta were closed in a shutter-down protest over the incident while the Hazara Democratic Party observed a day of mourning.

Reports said the outlawed religious extremist group Lashkar-i-Jhanvi has claimed responsibility for the carnage.

The outfit has targeted the Shia Hazara community in Balochistan frequently in the past killing and injuring hundreds of people.

Besides sectarian violence in the south western mineral-rich province, which borders both on Afghanistan and Iran, also suffers from a separatist insurgency being waged by armed militant groups from the ethnic Baloch community.

Gunmen ambushed a police checkpoint on Monday in Pakistan’s troubled northwestern city of Peshawar, killing two policemen, an official said.

Three gunmen riding two motorbikes attacked the police checkpoint on the outskirts of Peshawar and escaped after the attack.

“We don’t know about the identity of the attackers but the militants fled towards the tribal region after killing two policemen at the checkpoint in Pashta Khara area,” Imran Shahid, a senior police official, said.

The attack came a day after Islamic militants killed at least 53 people in suicide and bomb attacks in the country’s northwest and southwest.

A car bomb targeted a security forces’ convoy and killed 17 people in the suburbs of Peshawar on Sunday, not far from the semi-autonomous tribal belt where Taliban and Al Qaida-linked groups have bases.

Also on Sunday a suicide bomber blew himself up close to a mosque in the southwestern city of Quetta, killing at least 28 people, to mark the deadliest day in months.

Pakistani troops have been fighting for years against homegrown insurgents in the tribal belt, which Washington considers the main hub of Taliban and Al Qaida militants plotting attacks on the West and in Afghanistan.

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