Wednesday Jan 10 2018

Six, including four security personnel, martyred in Quetta suicide bombing


QUETTA: At least six persons, including four Balochistan Constabulary personnel, were martyred and 17 others injured on Tuesday in a suicide bombing near the Balochistan Assembly building in Quetta, police said.

The attacker blew himself up close to a police truck near GPO Chowk on Zarghoon Road, located in the provincial capital's high-security Red Zone just 300 metres from the provincial assembly building.

Senior police officer Abdul Razzaq Cheema confirmed the deaths of the four police personnel who belonged to the Balochistan Constabulary force.

Officials said that at least seven other policemen were also injured in the attack.

The personnel were returning after completion of routine duty when the bomber detonated his explosives near their vehicle. The blast also damaged a nearby public bus.

Hospital sources also confirmed the death toll, saying at least six persons, including four policemen and two civilians, were martyred and at least 17 others were injured.

Initial investigation suggested that the suicide attacker was attempting to reach the Balochistan Assembly building but detonated his explosives near the police vehicle close to the high-security zone. 

The loud explosion was heard while a Geo News correspondent was reporting live from near the location. 

A case was subsequently filed late Tuesday night, with charges relating to murder and terrorism.

However, senior police officials later said the intended target appeared to be the vehicle of the Balochistan Constabulary personnel.

"We believe the suicide bomber was on foot and blew himself up close to the policed truck," said Inspector-General of Balochistan Police Moazzam Jah Ansari, adding that the police personnel were the attackers' target.

The assailant likely came from across the border, Ansari added.

The attack came at a time when a special session of the provincial assembly had been called to take up a no-confidence vote against Chief Minister Sanaullah Zehri, but the session was postponed after the chief minister tendered his resignation.

Officials of the bomb disposal team, who examined the location to ascertain the nature of the blast, said the bomber, who was between 15 and 20 years of age, detonated between 8 and 10 kilograms of explosive material.

They said that examination was being carried out of the suicide bomber's remains and clues from the blast site to ascertain further details.

Police personnel took positions around the provincial assembly building and cordoned off the area following the blast, while additional contingents were also called in.

Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, Governor Balochistan Mohammad Khan Achakzai, former Chief Minister Sanaullah Zehri, PML-N chief Nawaz Sharif, PPP Co-Chairman Asif Ali Zardari, PTI leader Shireen Mazari, and other politicians condemned terrorist attack targeting security personnel.