Crime & Justice

Suicide bomber kills 4, injures 30 in Pakistan

(Update 1: upgrades casualty toll)

Islamabad, Nov 30 (EFE).- At least four people, including two children, were killed and nearly 30 were injured in a suicide bombing attack on Wednesday, when a vehicle loaded with explosives collided with a police truck escorting a polio vaccination team.

The bombing occurred at around 8:30 am near Quetta, the capital of the restive southwestern province of Balochistan, as the truck carrying the officers was on its way to the town of Kuchlak to protect vaccinators, Muhammed Ramzan, a police officer at Quetta headquarters, told EFE.

“The truck was badly affected by the explosion,” said the police officer, who explained that the vehicle overturned and fell into a small ditch next to the road.

Wahab Shah, another police officer at the headquarters, later told Efe that the death toll had risen to dour, including one officer and two children, in addition to the suicide bomber, while around 30 were injured.

“The investigation is underway but no arrests have been made so far,” he said.

In a statement, Pakistani prime minister Shehbaz Sharif condemned the attack and ordered an investigation.

“Polio officials are performing this duty without caring about their lives to eliminate this crippling disease from the country, for which I pay tribute to them,” said the prime minister.

The banned TTP claimed responsibility for the attack.

“On Wednesday morning, a mujahid (fighter) of Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan attacked a police convoy with a car bomb on the road near Baleli customs in Quetta,” a TTP statement said.

The blast comes two days after the militant group called off its ceasefire with the government.

Anti-polio vaccination campaign started in 37 districts of the country on Monday.

In Balochistan, six high-risk districts have been selected to administer the anti-polio drops to around one million children, an official statement said.

In the five-day campaign, more than 13.5 million children are being immunized against the crippling virus.

Militants, including the Taliban, regularly attack polio teams and police escorting them, saying the anti-polio drive is part of a Western conspiracy.

Such attacks increased after the Central Intelligence Agency of the United States ran a fake hepatitis vaccination campaign to hunt for al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden.

Laden was killed by US commandos in 2011 at his safehouse in Pakistan. EFE


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