Seven killed, scores hurt in mosque blast
August 16 2019 11:57 PM
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Security officials examine the blast site at a mosque in the town of Kuchlak, southwest Quetta.

Internews/DPA/Reuters/AFP/Quetta/Islamabad

At least seven people have been killed after an explosion rocked a madrassa located in Kuchlak area, on the outskirts of Quetta, local police said.
More than 20 people have been wounded in the blast, which took place after Friday prayers.
They have been shifted to the Quetta Civil Hospital.
Kuchlak, an impoverished, sleepy town located on a highway leading to neighbouring Afghanistan outside the city, is allegedly the headquarters of Afghan Taliban’s Quetta Shura in Pakistan.
Pakistan’s Dawn newspaper put the death toll at five.
The imam of the mosque connected to the seminary, located 25km from Quetta, was killed in the explosion, police said.
“The blast was carried out through a timed device that was planted under the wooden chair of the prayer leader,” said Quetta police chief Abdul Razzaq Cheema.
No group has claimed responsibility for the blast.
“The death toll could increase as some of the victims were seriously injured,” Shafqat Janjua, a police official.
TV footage showed the blast caused extensive damage to the walls and ceiling of the seminary.
This is the fourth explosion that has taken place in Quetta over the past four weeks.
On July 23, a blast had occurred in the Eastern Bypass area, which left four people dead and 32 injured.
On July 30, another attack took place near a police station in which five people were killed and 30 others were injured.
The banned Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) had claimed responsibility for that blast.
Last week, a man belonging to the Shia Hazara community was killed and 13 others wounded in a bomb explosion in a shoe market near Quetta’s busy Meezan Chowk.
The Baluchistan cabinet had last month vowed to bring terrorists and their facilitators to justice, and said that such attacks could not weaken the determination of the government against terrorists and their masters.
Baluchistan is Pakistan’s largest and most volatile province, sharing borders with both Afghanistan and Iran and frequently targeted by Islamist militants, sectarian groups and sub-nationalist rebels.
The province is key to the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), part of Beijing’s Belt and Road initiative.
The CPEC seeks to connect China’s western province of Xinjiang with the Pakistani port of Gwadar, giving Beijing access to the Arabian Sea.
Meanwhile, the brother of the leader of the Afghan Taliban was among the seven people killed in the bomb blast, two Taliban sources told Reuters.
The latest blast comes as the Taliban and the United States are in the final stages of negotiations on an agreement letting America end its longest war and withdraw its troops from neighbouring Afghanistan.
Taliban leader Haibatullah Akhundzada was not in the mosque when the bomb went off but his younger brother, Hafiz Ahmadullah, was among those killed.
The Taliban leader’s son was wounded, one of the sources said.
The mosque was known to be visited by members of the Afghan Taliban, the sources said.
Pakistani police did not confirm the identity of the victims.
One of the Taliban sources, who was at the site after the blast, said security at the mosque was always very tight.



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