Monday, August 8, 2016

At least 20 killed in Pakistan hospital blast

At least 20 people were killed and dozens more wounded after a blast at a major hospital in the Pakistani city of Quetta, an AFP reporter and officials said, with fears the toll could rise.
Graphic video footage from the scene showed bodies strewn on the ground, some still smoking, among pools of blood and shattered glass as shocked survivors cried and comforted one another.

A large burn mark against white brick appeared to indicate where the explosion occurred.

The blast came after mourners including journalists and lawyers gathered at the hospital following the fatal shooting of a senior local lawyer, officials said. Many of the dead appeared to be wearing black suits and ties.

“More than 20 people have been killed, including two cameramen in the blast,” said Daud Khilji, a senior administration official in Quetta.

The figure was confirmed by an AFP reporter on the scene and senior police official Akbar Raisani, who said at least 40 others had been wounded.

“A number of lawyers and some journalists had gathered at the hospital following the death of the president of the Balochistan Bar Association in a separate shooting incident early this morning,” Akbar Harifal, the home secretary of restive Balochistan province where the explosion occurred, told AFP.

The lawyer, Bilal Anwar Kasi, was targeted by two unknown gunmen as he left his home in the morning for work.

There were no immediate claims of responsibility for either attack.

Balochistan, which borders Iran and Afghanistan, has oil and gas resources but is afflicted by Islamist militancy, sectarian violence between Sunni and Shiite Muslims and a separatist insurgency.

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