Four killed in blast targeting police vehicle in Pakistan’s Quetta


Quetta (Reuters) – Four people were killed and 15 injured in a bombing targeting a police vehicle in a marketplace in the southwestern Pakistani city of Quetta on Monday, a hospital official said.

In a successive attack, a station house officer (SHO) was targeted in a roadside blast in Quetta. Police said that the SHO of the Sariab police station, Ehsanullah Marwat, was patrolling along with his squad.

Police confirmed to Reuters that the police squad was safe while three people passing through were injured.

Separatist group the Balochistan Liberation Army (BLA) claimed responsibility for the attacks, which was the third attack in less than 24 hours on police in Quetta, located in the southwestern province of Balochistan.

In a statement, the group also said four people were killed, including two policemen.

“The Baloch Liberation Army accepts responsibility for this attack and we reiterate our commitment that all atrocities against the Baloch people will be held to account,” Jeeyand Baloch, spokesperson for the BLA, said.

Senior police official Shafqat Cheema told Reuters the target of the first attack was the vehicle of the acting superintendent of police investigations, which was parked in Kandahari Bazar.

He said initial reports showed an improvised device containing 4 to 5 kg (9 to 11 pounds) of explosive was planted in a motorcycle parked behind the vehicle and detonated remotely.

Two police officers who were sitting in the vehicle were among the dead, said Zohaib Mohsin Baloch, senior superintendent of police operations.

Wasim Baig, a spokesperson for the Quetta hospital, told Reuters the number of injured had reached 15 in addition to the four dead.

The BLA claim the second attack employed an improvised explosive device.

Before Monday’s attack, armed men on Sunday targeted personnel of the Police Eagle Squad in Quetta, killing two police officers and injuring another. One of the attackers was killed by police.

Balochistan is home to a number of China-backed economic projects under its Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), against which some militants have been protesting.

Quetta has been dealing with a separatist ethnic insurgency, at the same time as Pakistan is dealing with unrelated violence carried out by Islamist militants.

Last week Pakistan launched a nationwide operation to try to root out Islamist militants.

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