Multiple blasts, gunfire kill 20 in Quetta; hospital under siege.
Photo shows the extent of the
damage to a bus attacked with
improvised explosives. At least
11 women were killed in the blast
at the campus of the Women
University Quetta.—AP Photo
QUETTA|15|June|2013:: At least 20 people were killed Saturday in multiple bomb and gun attacks by militants in Quetta, the capital of insurgency-hit Balochistan province.
An operation was being carried out by security personnel to free the Bolan Medical Complex from heavily armed militants who had taken over parts of the hospital and were reported to have taken several people hostage.
According to latest updates from a Dawn.com correspondent in Quetta, another loud explosion was reported from inside the hospital, where a large number of patients and doctors were still trapped inside the complex.
Reports suggested both grenade and suicide blasts, although the exact nature of the explosions inside the complex could be verified yet. One of the blasts was confirmed to have targeted the emergency ward of the hospital.
The latest blast brings the total number of explosions reported from inside the hospital to four, where police sources had earlier reported eight gunmen were engaged in a grueling gun-battle with security personnel, restricting them from entering the complex.
According to latest reports, security personnel had succeeded in entering the premises of the medical complex from various sides. A team of the Special Services Group (SSG) commandos has also been dispatched for Quetta to aid in the operation.
A Frontier Corps official told DawnNews that four of the eight gunmen had been killed by security personnel, while four while still present inside the complex.
Earlier, eleven female students were killed when a bomb ripped through a bus inside the Women University campus.
“The bomb exploded just when female teachers and students gathered inside the bus around 3 pm to proceed for Quetta city from the university,” Capital City Police Officer Mir Zubair Mehmood said.
The CCPO said that most of the victims were female teachers and students. He said the bus caught fire after the powerful blast.
The wounded were taken to the Bolan Medical Complex, where less than an hour later, sounds of explosions and gunfire spread panic and chaos among the patients and doctors.
Several of the injured were still trapped inside the medical complex due to the following siege by militants said to be armed with automatic weapons.
The death toll, including the eleven female students killed in the earlier bus bombing, has now risen to 20. Dozens are said to be wounded.
The dead also includes three soldiers as well as a deputy commissioner.
Capital City Police Officer Mir Zubair Mehmood confirmed Deputy Commissioner Abdul Mansoor Khan, who was wounded earlier, was killed by shots to the head and chest.
A journalist from a local television news channel was also wounded with a bullet to his leg.
Earlier on Saturday, militants attacked the Quaid-e-Azam residency in Ziarat with hand grenades, destroying the historical monument where the founder of Pakistan Mohammad Ali Jinnah spent his last days.
A policeman was killed in the attack on the Jinnah’s monumental residency.
Officials had confirmed that most of the old memorials inside the monument were destroyed, with historic photographs of the founder burnt to the ground in the resulting fire.
It was unclear if the attack on the Quaid’s residency in Ziarat was related to the later attacks in Quetta. No militant group has so far claimed responsibility for any of the attacks.
This is a developing story and will be updated as reports keep coming in.(Courtesy:Dawn)