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10 Jan, 2020 15:16

At least 14 killed in blast at Pakistani mosque

At least 14 killed in blast at Pakistani mosque

At least 14 people, including a high-ranking provincial police officer, lost their lives after a powerful explosion rocked a mosque in north-western Pakistan, local media report, citing police and medical sources.

The blast struck a mosque in a satellite town of Quetta – the regional capital and the largest city of the Pakistani Balochistan province – during the Friday prayers. Police Deputy Superintendent Haji Aman Ullah was among those killed in the explosion, Quetta Deputy Inspector General Abdul Razzaq Cheema told the local media.

Thirteen more people, including the msoque's imam, died in the blast as well, while 20 others were injured, a spokesman of a local civil hospital, Dr Wasim Baig, confirmed. The exact nature of the explosion is still unclear. Balochistan Home Minister Zia Langove has already branded it a terrorist act. Some reports suggested that the high-ranking police officer was the real target of the attack.

The incident came just days after another blast struck Quetta, targeting a vehicle of the Frontier Corps (FC) – a paramilitary group tasked with guarding the border with Afghanistan and Iran, as well as maintaining law and order in the province. Two people were killed and 13 were injured when a bike packed with explosives blew up near the FC car, damaging nearby shops as well.

Hizbul Ahrar, an offshoot of the Pakistani Taliban, claimed responsibility for Tuesday's bike-bomb attack. Yet, no one immediately claimed responsibility for Friday's mosque bombing.

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