Published On: Sun, Oct 5th, 2014

Suicide attack kills six Hazaras in Quetta

By Saleem Shahid

QUETTA: Security officials examine the scene after the suicide blast in Aliabad area of Hazara Town.—INP

QUETTA: Security officials examine the scene after the suicide blast in Aliabad area of Hazara Town.—INP

QUETTA: Six people, a woman and a child of Hazara Shia community among them, were killed and at least 24 others injured in a suicide attack here on Saturday night.

It was the second bomb attack to have hit the city in hours. Earlier in the morning, a pick-up bomb blast on Spiny Road, apparently aimed at a police vehicle, left seven people wounded.

“It was a suicide attack,” IGP Balochistan Muhammad Amlish said about Saturday night’s incident, adding the suicide attacker blew himself up in Aliabad area of Hazara Town.

Sources said there was tight security in and around Hazara Town. Yet the suicide attacker managed to enter the Aliabad area and detonated his explosive vest at a square of the main market.

The powerful blast killed three people on the spot and injured over two dozen others. The dead and the injured were taken to the Bolan Medical College (BMC) Hospital and Combined Military Hospital (CMH). Two of the injured died in the hospital.

“Six people have been killed and 27 others, including six children, were injured in the suicide attack,” Capital City Police Officer Abdul Razzaq Cheema said, adding that the dead included one woman who succumbed to her injuries at the CMH.

However, a leader of the Hazara Democratic Party, Bostan Ali, said that two women had been killed in the attack. A child also succumbed to his injuries at the CMH late in the night, he added.

Sources said a large number of people were busy in Eid shopping in Aliabad when the suicide attack took place.

“Hundreds of people, among them women and children, were present in the shopping centre when the suicide bomber blew himself up,” police sources said.

Law-enforcement agencies personnel cordoned off the area after the explosion and started investigation. It was the fourth suicide blast to have hit Hazara Town over the past two years.

The head of the attacker was recovered from a nearby girls’ school and other body parts were found at the place of the attack. Police shifted them to the hospital.

The blast was so powerful that it was heard in the entire city, creating panic among citizens. Shops were closed.

Shia organisations and the Hazara Democratic Party condemned the attack and announced seven days of mourning.

The blast that occurred at Spiny Road in the morning left seven people injured.

“A Suzuki pick-up was used for the blast,” police said, adding that a police officer was passing through the area when the vehicle carrying the explosives was detonated.

Explosives were concealed under apple crates loaded in the pick-up and the vehicle was parked on the roadside. It was a remote-controlled blast and around 30-40kgs of explosive substance packed with ball bearings and metal pieces were used, they said.

DSP Mohammad Naeem and his guards escaped unhurt in the blast which badly damaged his vehicle.

Seven people, who were injured in the blast, were admitted to the BMC hospital.

A spokesman for the banned Baloch United Army, Mureed Baloch, calling from an unknown location, told mediapersons that his group was responsible for the bomb blast.

However, no one claimed responsibility for the suicide attack till late night.

Reuters adds: Last year, members of Quetta’s Hazara Shia community staged a sit-in in protest at their lack of protection, refusing to bury the bodies of people killed in a bomb blast in a Shia commercial area of the city.

The banned Lashkar-e-Jhangvi militant group has carried out many gun-and-bomb attacks on Hazaras in the past.

Published in Dawn, October 5th, 2014

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