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Bomb blast kills 15 in south-western Pakistan

Bomb blast kills 15 in south-western Pakistan

A bomb exploded near a crowded market in the Pakistani city of Quetta on Saturday, killing at least 15 people, officials said, the latest attack to hit the restive southwestern province of Baluchistan.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the blast.

15 people, including 7 civilians, have lost their lives in a huge suicide explosion near Quetta's Pishin Stop.

"The target was a security forces vehicle", said Home Minister Bugti.

The ISPR further said that incendiary explosives were used in the attack and that was the reason why nearby vehicles caught fire.

The casualties have been shifted to the city's hospitals where a state of emergency has already been declared.

The blast took place near Mehdi Hospital at Pishin Stop.

Earlier, Geo News citing rescue and hospital sources reported 17 people had been killed in the attack.

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Quetta's chief of bomb disposal squad, Aslam Tareen, said initial information was that a suicide attacker rammed a motorcycle into a military vehicle.

Earlier in June, three security officials were injured after an improvised explosive device (IED) seemingly targeted their vehicle in the Johan area of Kalat.

Balochistan Home Minister Sarfraz said that it was a big blast.

"Among the victims are security personnel and civilians", he said.

The province was rocked by a series of attacks late previous year that claimed over 180 lives and raised concerns about a growing militant presence, including fighters affiliated with Islamic State, which has claimed several bombings in Baluchistan.

The blast came two days before Pakistan's 70th Independence Day, and the military chief said it was an effort to mar celebrations.

Past attacks in the province have been claimed by the Pakistani Taliban, ISIL, as well as by Baloch separatist fighters who are fighting for independence from Pakistan.

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