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Asia

Suicide attack kills at least 40 in Pakistan's Quetta

A suicide bomber struck a Shiite Muslim rally in Quetta on Friday, killing more than 40 persons. Meanwhile, the Pakistani Taliban have taken responsibility for the suicide bombings in Lahore earlier this week.

Volunteers carry the wounded after the attack

Volunteers carry the wounded after the attack

City Police Chief Ghulam Shabir has confirmed the deaths of at least 42 people. At least 70 are reported to be injured. Police officials also said that unrest had broken out following the attack. People reportedly set fires while some rushed to safer areas. Still others lay on the ground to save their lives.

The attack was apparently targeting a rally of around 450 people on the occasion of Al Quds day. The annual event is held by the Shiite community to oppose Israel's control of Jerusalem and to show solidarity with Palestinian Muslims. The attack comes shortly after the Lahore bombings on Wednesday, when three successive bombs blew up in a Shiite procession. More than 30 persons were killed and hundreds injured.

Chaos after the bombing

Chaos after the bombing

Another attack on minority Ahmadis

Yet another suicide attack was reported earlier in the day in the northwestern city of Mardan. The local police chief, Waqif Khan said that a passerby was killed and four others wounded as the attacker tried to enter a place of worship belonging to the Ahmadi sect. It is unclear as to whether the bomber was killed by the bomb or by gunshots fired at him by the guards.

The Pakistani Tehrik e Taliban has meanwhile claimed responsibility for the suicide attack in Lahore on Wednesday. A spokesperson for Qari Hussain Mehsud, known to be a mentor to suicide bombers, said that the attack was a 'revenge for killings of innocent Sunnis'. Thousands attended the Shiite rally in Lahore which was organised during the holy month of Ramadan.

A procession to condemn Wednesday's blasts

A procession to condemn Wednesday's blasts

IMF approves flood relief aid

As the government in Pakistan tries to grapple with the devastation caused by floods, the International Monetary Fund IMF has approved $ 450 million in emergency aid for flood relief. The funds will be disbursed this month. The government, however, is under constant pressure from the US which fears that extremist groups may take advantage of the situation to try and gain stronger support among a population increasingly disillusioned by the government's attempts at disaster management. Army operations are also falling victim to the floods. US Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, who is visiting Afghanistan, has emphasized that the flooding in Pakistan may delay any operations by the Pakistani army against militants in North Waziristan.

mg/Reuters/AFP
Editor: Thomas Baerthlein

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