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3 suicide attacks rock Quetta, killing 6 police officers

One bomber detonated his explosives near a police truck, provincial police chief Moazzam Jah Ansari said. Seven police officers were wounded in that attack.

Pakistani volunteers carry an injured policeman to a hospital following a suicide bombing attack, in Quetta on 24 April 2018. Picture: AFP

QUETTA - Three suicide bombers attacked Pakistani police and paramilitary soldiers in the southwestern city of Quetta on Tuesday, killing six police officers and wounding 15 members of the security forces, officials said.

One bomber detonated his explosives near a police truck, provincial police chief Moazzam Jah Ansari said. Seven police officers were wounded in that attack.

“It is a suicide attack, and we have a confirmation that six of our police officials are dead,” Ansari told Reuters.

Half an hour earlier, two suicide bombers tried to attack a paramilitary checkpoint on the city’s outskirts, but troops deployed there engaged them, a paramilitary officer said.

He said the troops had opened fire at the attackers, who detonated their explosives, wounding eight soldiers. Both the suicide bombers died, he said on condition of anonymity because the army was due to issue an official statement.

No one immediately claimed responsibility for the attacks.

Quetta is the capital city of the southwestern province of Baluchistan, which has been plagued by violence.

Islamist militants linked to the Taliban, al Qaeda and Islamic State have been operating in the province, which borders Iran as well as Afghanistan. It also has an indigenous ethnic Baloch insurgency fighting the central government.

Islamic State has created a branch in Pakistan and Afghanistan, mostly by recruiting among breakaway factions of other established militant groups. Its followers have claimed some of Pakistan’s most deadly recent attacks.

Six members of Pakistan’s tiny Christian minority community, four of them from the same family, and two people from the Shi‘ite Muslim minority were gunned down in Quetta this month.

In December two suicide bombers stormed a packed church in southwestern Pakistan, killing at least 10 people and wounding up to 56.

Pakistan a nuclear-armed nation of 208 million people has for some time seen a decrease in militant violence, but the Islamists, who want to install their own harsh brand of Islamic law, remain potent.

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