Security officials stand guard at the site of a suicide bomb attack targeting a police truck in Quetta on Wednesday. Reuter s
Ghulam Azfer Mehser, a senior police officer, said the attack happened as the policemen were heading to the polio workers, part of a nationwide vaccination drive launched on Monday.
The blast was so powerful that it toppled the truck carrying police officers into a ravine, he said, adding that the bombing also damaged a nearby car carrying members of a family.
He said that the anti-polio campaign will continue even after the bombing.
Mehser told reporters that the bomber rammed his vehicle into the police truck, detonating the explosives and forcing the police truck to plunge into a ravine.
The suicide bomber's victims included a policeman, a woman and a child, and some of the wounded were in a critical condition, another police official, Abdul Haq, told Reuters. One of the wounded men died at the hospital, said an official, Wasim Baig, adding that 15 police officers were among the wounded.
Father and son receive medical aid in hospital after being wounded in a suicide bomb blast on a police patrol in Quetta. Reuters
Wednesday's bombing happened two days after The Pakistani Taliban ended a monthslong ceasefire with the government in Islamabad, ordering its fighters to resume attacks across the country, where scores of deadly attacks have been blamed on the insurgent group. In Monday's statement, the outlawed TTP group said it would end the five-month cease-fire after the army stepped up operations against the TTP.
Pakistani President Arif Alvi, Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif and other officials in separate statements condemned the attack. It came a day after Pakistani Deputy Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar travelled to Kabul to discuss a range of issues with the Afghan Taliban, including the latest threat from the local Taliban.
Pakistan wants Afghanistan's Taliban not to allow the Pakistani militants to use their soil to launch attacks inside this Islamic nation, which has witnessed scores of attacks. Most have been blamed on the Pakistani Taliban, who in a statement claimed responsibility for the bombing in Baluchistan on Wednesday.
The Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan group, or TTP, said the attack in Balochistan targeted police to avenge the killing of their former spokesperson, Abdul Wali. He was widely known as Omar Khalid Khurasani and was killed in a bombing in Afghanistan’s Paktika province in August. His death was a heavy blow to the group.
The attack on police came amid a spike in new polio cases among children. The latest vaccination campaign is the sixth such drive this year and will last for five days, aiming to inoculate children under the age of 5 in high-risk areas.
The drive is aimed at Islamabad and in the high-risk districts in eastern Punjab and southwestern Balochistan province, where Monday's attack took place. It killed at least two people, including a police officer and a child. A similar campaign will be launched in the northwest in the first week of December.
Separately, the army said it killed 10 militants in Balochistan on Tuesday, but did not clarify whether they were TTP or Baloch separatist fighters.
Local officials said the attack happened after two police were killed at a roadside checkpoint outside the city.
A suicide bomber drove a vehicle loaded with explosives into a base for Afghan defence forces in the country's east on Saturday, killing at least 15 security personnel in an attack claimed by the Taliban, according to AFP.
The toll was likely to rise as scores of people were rushed to hospitals, government spokesman told the media. Earlier, the director of the Aamin Ambulance service, confirmed the 76 dead and said more than 50 others were wounded.
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