Blast in Pakistan’s Balochistan kills at least 50

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At least 50 people have been killed and more than 50 injured in a suicide attack in Pakistan, police say.

The blast happened near a mosque in the south-western Balochistan province on Friday as people gathered to celebrate the birth of the Prophet Muhammad.

Officials in Balochistan have declared a state of emergency. No group has claimed responsibility for the attack.

Meanwhile, a separate blast has taken place at a mosque near Peshawar City in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province.

Footage from the scene in the Baloch city of Mastung showed injured people being rescued by emergency responders and locals.

Balochistan’s police chief Abdul Khaliq Sheikh confirmed the explosion was a suicide blast. He said a senior police officer was killed while trying to stop the attacker.

Pakistan’s Interior Minister Sarfraz Bugti said the blast was a “very heinous act” and condemned what he called “terrorist attacks” in both areas.

On the other attack, a spokesman for Khyber Pakhtunkhwa police said that two suicide bombers and a vehicle full of explosives had been intercepted.

He said “one of the bombers was neutralised on the gate” when he tried to enter the mosque in the town of Hangu.

The number of casualties at the mosque in Hangu is not yet known but police say a number of people could be trapped under rubble after the roof collapsed.

The mosque is part of a police complex that has a capacity of 40 to 50 people, local police told the BBC.

Bordering Afghanistan and Iran, Balochistan is Pakistan’s largest province and has frequently been hit by armed fighters including the Tehrik-e Taliban Pakistan (TTP) or the Pakistani Taliban, and the Islamic State group.

Earlier this month, at least eleven people including a prominent Muslim leader were injured in an explosion in the same district.

However, the TTP have denied involvement in Friday’s blast, saying in a statement that such an attack was against its policies. The group also “vehemently condemned” the attack in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, stating that “mosques, schools, and public gatherings are not part of our targets”.

On Thursday, Pakistan’s security forces said it thwarted an attempt by the TTP to “infiltrate from Afghanistan”, killing three of the group.

In July, more than 40 people were killed in a suicide bombing in north-western Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province at a religious political party’s gathering.


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