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Over 50 killed, dozens wounded in Pakistan blasts

QUETTA (AFP) – More than 50 people were killed and dozens more wounded in Pakistan’s Balochistan province yesterday by a suicide bomber targeting a procession marking the birth anniversary of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh), officials said.

A second suicide attack by two men at a mosque hundreds of kilometres north in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province led to a roof collapse that killed four people, officials said.

In southwestern Balochistan, officials said a suicide bomber detonated a device as rallies from neighbourhood mosques converged on a meeting point in Mastung, around 40 kilometres south of the provincial capital, Quetta.

“My feet trembled and I was thrown to the ground,” said 49-year-old Hazoor Bakhsh.

“As the dust settled, I saw people scattered in all directions, some screaming while others called out for help.”

Local hospitals were overwhelmed by the number of wounded, and provincial authorities used social media platforms to appeal for blood donors.

The death toll kept climbing throughout the day. “I can confirm that the death toll has increased to 52, with over 70 individuals injured,” Deputy Inspector-General of Balochistan’s police force Munir Ahmed Shaikh told AFP.

On the same occasion in April 2006, a suicide bomber killed at least 50 people in the port city of Karachi after detonating a device at a gathering.

Balochistan’s Minister for Information Jan Achakzai announced a three-day mourning period.

Hundreds of kilometres north in Hangu, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, four people were killed after the roof of a mosque collapsed following a suicide attack.

“Two militants, armed with automatic firearms, hand grenades, and suicide vests attempted to breach the mosque’s security,” senior district police officer Nisar Ahmad told AFP. “They were intercepted… leading to an exchange of gunfire. One of them detonated his vest, while the other managed to enter the mosque’s hall through a window.”

Volunteers carry a victim of the blast on a stretcher at a hospital in Quetta. PHOTO: AFP