Suicide bomber and shooting appear to be deadly coordinated attacks in Pakistan | News | DW | 08.08.2016
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Suicide bomber and shooting appear to be deadly coordinated attacks in Pakistan

A part of the Pakistani Taliban has claimed responsibility for a lethal bombing at a hospital. The bomber seemed to know there would be a large crowd of lawyers there, mourning a colleague and earlier murder victim.

A suicide bomber in Pakistan's restive Baluchistan province killed scores and injured dozens more in an attack on a hospital that appeared to be coordinated with the deadly shooting earlier in the day of a prominent regional lawyer.

At least 70 people were killed, most of them lawyers, and at least two journalists also died in the bomb blast. The attacker had laden his device with ball bearings and shrapnel.

Reports of the number of wounded fluctuated considerably, with at least 50 more apparently injured in the blast.

A faction of the Pakistani Taliban, Jamaat-ul-Ahrar, claimed responsibility for the bombing and the targeted killing of the lawyer. A spokesman for the group vowed more attacks "until the imposition of an Islamic system in Pakistan."
Jamaat-ul-Ahrar has also claimed responsibility for the deadliest attack in Pakistan so far this year, an Easter Sunday bombing that killed 75 people in a crowded park in Lahore.
Bombing targeted shooting victim's friends, colleagues
The attack occurred at the entrance to the Quetta Civil Hospital where nearly 100 lawyers had gathered to mourn the fatal shooting of their colleague, Bilal Kasi. Kasi, who was head of the provincial bar association, was gunned down earlier in the day as he left his home to go to work.

Gathering to mourn the death of a colleague is common in Pakistan, and it appears the shooting and the suicide bombing were coordinated, according to Zahoor Ahmed Afridi, a local senior police officer.

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Suicide bomber strikes hospital in Quetta

"It was a suicide attack," Afridi said. He added that the attacker struck shortly after Kasi's body was brought to the hospital and that it seemed the two events were connected.

An AFP journalist was about 20 meters (22 yards) away when the bomb went off.

"There were huge black clouds and dirt," he said. "I ran back to the place and saw dead bodies scattered everywhere and many injured people crying. There were pools and pools of blood around and pieces of human bodies and flesh."

He said nurses and lawyers wept as medics from inside the hospital rushed out to help the wounded.

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif strongly condemned the attack.

He expressed his "deep grief and anguish over the loss of precious human lives," he said. "No one will be allowed to disturb the peace in the province that has been restored thanks to the countless sacrifices by the security forces, police and the people of Baluchistan."

Sharif was to visit Quetta and the hospital on Monday.

Ali Zafar, the head of the country's main lawyers' association, condemned the blast as "an attack on justice." He said lawyers will observe three days of mourning.

The region has been racked by violence, perpetrated by an array of separatist and militant groups, including al-Qaida.

bik/msh (AFP, AP, Reuters, PTI, dpa)

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