Islamabad: At least 25 people, including several children, were killed and a dozen more injured when a powerful bomb went off in a Shia-dominated area of Quetta city in southwest Pakistan today, officials said.
The explosion occurred at Kirani Road, a neighbourhood of Quetta with a sizeable Shia population that has been targeted by terrorists in the past.
The area was crowded at the time of the blast. Officials of the Bolan Medical Complex and Civil Hospital told the media they had received 13 bodies. Two women and several children were among the dead, they said. Some of the 12 injured people are in a serious condition, officials said.
The blast blew out windows and damaged several residential buildings and shops. Footage on television showed a plume of smoke rising into the sky after the blast.
Security forces cordoned off the area and did not allow people to approach the site of the blast. Officials said this was done as terrorists had set off a bigger bomb after a smaller initial blast in recent attacks. Members of a bomb disposal squad searched the area. No group has claimed responsibility for the attack.
Similar attacks in the recent past have been blamed on the banned Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, a notorious militant group that often targets Shias.
On January 10, a twin suicide attack in Quetta killed 92 Hazara Shias – the highest toll in a single attack on Shias, who make up 20 per cent of Pakistan's population of 180 million.
Following the attack, the federal government imposed Governor's Rule in Balochistan province.
with inputs from the agencies