ISLAMABAD — A powerful remote-controlled bomb blast near a mosque in Pakistan’s Balochistan province has killed four policemen and injured 11 others, the second major attack to rock the restive region in the last three days.
The explosion occurred on Monday night when people were assembling for prayers near the mosque in the provincial capital Quetta’s Satellite Town area.
The attack took place shortly after a police van arrived at the site to provide security to the people offering prayers at the mosque.
“The police vehicle carrying personnel for mosque security was targeted in the blast in which our four personnel of Rapid Response Group (RRG) lost their lives, while the condition of another was stated to be serious,” said Quetta Deputy Inspector General (DIG) Razzaq Cheema.
Another 11 people were injured in the attack, Provincial Home Minister Ziaullah Langov said.
This was the second major terrorist attack in Balochistan within the last three days.
Three heavily-armed militants on Saturday stormed a luxury hotel in Pakistan’s port city of Gwadar in the restive Balochistan province, killing eight persons, including a Pakistan Navy soldier and three militants.
An improvised explosive device planted in a motorcycle went off close to the police van. Sources said unidentified people parked the explosive-laden motorbike near the mosque in Satellite Town area and detonated it by remote control when the police van arrived there, the Dawn reported.
“Three police officials among the injured died soon after being brought here at the hospital,” officials at a healthcare facility said.
Many vehicles parked in the area were damaged and window panes of nearby buildings were shattered due to the powerful blast, though the mosque remained safe in the attack.
Security forces have cordoned off the area and launched a search operation to trace those involved in the blast.
The banned Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan has claimed responsibility for the motorcycle bomb blast targeting the police vehicle, the report said.
Prime Minister Imran Khan has strongly condemned the targeted attack.
Khan has sought a report on the blast and said the country was fully committed to completely eliminating terrorism.
The prime minister said those who target innocent people in the holy month of Ramadan did not have a religion.
The nation’s spirit is strong and Pakistan is determined to do away with the menace of terrorism, he said.
Balochistan Chief Minister Jam Kamal Khan has also condemned the attack.
“Efforts are being made to sabotage peace under a wicked conspiracy. Those creating instability would be fought back with full force,” he said.
Vowing to improve the security arrangements, the chief minister also directed the concerned authorities to provide the best medical facilities to the wounded persons.