Friday, June 8, 2012

12 killed, over 40 injured in blast in SW Pakistan

ISLAMABAD, June 7 (Xinhua) -- At least 12 people were killed and over 40 others injured in an explosion at the main gate of a seminary in Pakistan's southwest city of Quetta on Thursday afternoon, police said.

Deputy Inspector General Police Qazi Abdul Wahid said that the blast took place when a large number of people gathered in the religious school for the annual degree and prize distribution ceremony.

He said that an unidentified militant hid explosive materials under the flower garlands brought for the ceremony. The militant failed to enter the school building because of strict security measures and parked his explosive laden bicycle outside the main gate.

Capital City Police Officer Mir Zubair told media that the blast was triggered by a timed device and at least six kilograms of explosives were used in the explosion. He added that the death toll could further rise if the attacker succeeded in parking his bicycle inside the seminary.

Some media reports said that the seminary belonged to Sunni Muslims and the attack might be a result of sectarian confrontation between Sunni and Shia Muslims.

Local Urdu TV channel reported that the explosion took place at about 3:00 a.m. local time. The injured people have been shifted to local hospital, however, the death toll may further rise as half of the injured were in a critical condition.

Law enforcement agencies cordoned off the area and an investigation into the incident has been launched.

No group have claimed responsibility for the attack.

Quetta, the provincial capital of the country's southwest province of Balochistan, often remains under attacks of Taliban militants and activists of separatist movements. Sectarian clashes are also very common in the city.

Early on Sunday, six people including two policemen and four Shia Muslims were killed and several others injured when unknown gunmen opened fire at a cement shop in Quetta.

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