Thursday, February 21, 2019
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Suicide bombing at Pakistan hospital leaves dozens dead

At least 70 killed in deadly Quetta hospital attack claimed both by the ISIL group and a faction of Pakistan Taliban.


A Pakistani Taliban faction and the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) have both claimed responsibility for the suicide attack at a hospital in Pakistan's Quetta city that left at least 70 people dead.

Monday's attack targeted a group of mourning lawyers, who had gathered at the emergency department of the hospital to accompany the body of a murdered colleague.

"The Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan Jamaat-ur-Ahrar takes responsibility for this attack, and pledges to continue carrying out such attacks. We will release a video report on this soon," the group's spokesman Ehsanullah Ehsan said in an email.

ISIL, which is also known as ISIS, also claimed responsibility for the attack.

"A martyr from the Islamic State [of Iraq and the Levant] detonated his explosive belt at a gathering of justice ministry employees and Pakistani policemen in the city of Quetta," the armed group's Amaq news agency reported.

Many of the dead appeared to be wearing black suits and ties.

Balochistan Home Minister Sarfraz Bugti said: "The blast occurred after a number of lawyers and some journalists had gathered at the hospital following the death of Bilal Anwar Kasi, the president of the Balochistan Bar Association, in a separate shooting incident early this morning."

The lawyers were at the unit because earlier in the day armed men, who are still unidentified, had shot Bilal Anwar Kasi, reports said.

Kasi, who later died from his injuries, was the former president of the Balochistan Bar Association. He had been on his way to work when he was attacked.

Several people were wounded as they rushed to leave the hospital, local Dawn TV reported.

Pakistani media said that journalists were among the victims, with at least two cameramen killed. One cameraman was named by local media as Aaj TV's Shehzad Khan.

The other was Mehmood Khan of DawnNews. His colleague Sumaira Jajja wrote on Twitter that Khan, a father of seven children, started out as a security guard before joining Dawn as an officer worker to then become a cameraman. He had planned to do a master's degree in journalism.

Balochistan, which borders Iran and Afghanistan, has oil and gas resources and is afflicted by fighting, violence between Sunni and Shia Muslims, and a separatist rebellion.

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