Asia Pacific

Pakistan: Explosion in Quetta mosque kills 2

At least one person was killed and more than a dozen injured by a blast at a mosque in southwestern Pakistan’s Quetta, according to police, the latest incident in restive Balochistan province.

The blast occurred at a mosque on the outskirts of the provincial capital during Friday prayers on May 24. However, officials have not confirmed if the explosion was caused by an attack.

“Three of the injured are in a critical condition including the prayer leader as the blast occurred near him,” Quetta’s police chief Abdur Razzaq Cheema told AFP.

The explosion was also confirmed by officials at the government-run Sandeman hospital where the injured are being treated.

Among those killed were the prayer leader, reported AP, which put the death toll at two with 15 injured.

There have been no claims of responsibility for the incident.

The blast comes weeks after a suicide blast claimed by Islamic State in Quetta killed at least 20 people.

Balochistan, Pakistan’s largest and poorest province which borders Afghanistan and Iran, is rife with Islamist, separatist and sectarian insurgencies, even as incidents of violence have significantly dropped elsewhere in Pakistan.

On May 13, a bomb hidden under a motorbike in Quetta killed four police officers and wounded nine other people. That attack was claimed by Tehrik-i Taliban Pakistan.

Just days earlier, Baloch Liberation Army separatists attacked a luxury hotel in Balochistan’s second city, Gwadar, killing five people including a Pakistani soldier.

In April, Iran and Pakistan agreed to set up a joint border “reaction force” following deadly attacks by militant groups along their frontier.

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With reporting from AFP

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