Saturday, 15 June 2013

Pakistan militants blast bus, attack hospital; at least 21 dead.

Pakistan militants blast bus, attack hospital; at least 21 dead.

QUETTA | Pakistan | 15 June 2013:: Militants in western Pakistan bombed a bus carrying women students on Saturday and then seized part of the hospital where survivors of the attack were taken, killing at least 21 people, officials said. At least 27 were injured.

The gunmen in Quetta, the capital of Baluchistan province long plagued by sectarian violence, were holed up in the emergency ward of a hospital, engulfed in a firefight pitting them against the security forces.

Security forces had forced their way into part of the Bolan Medical Complex, where dozens of patients and staff were believed to be trapped. Television footage showed troops surrounding the building and a helicopter hovering overhead.

"They are several in number, we are still facing resistance from them, and people are stranded inside the hospital. We are trying our best to rescue the people," said Jan Mohammed Bulaidi, spokesman for Baluchistan's new chief minister, who took office last Sunday.

The attack in resource-rich Baluchistan was Pakistan's most lethal since the government of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif took office last week and followed earlier explosions in a nearby town that killed a policeman and destroyed a historic building.

Quetta is a hotbed of sectarian violence, much of it targeting the Hazara ethnic minority, who are Shia Muslims.
The province is also racked by a separatist insurgency. It was not immediately clear who was responsible for the bus and hospital attacks, or whether they was aimed at the Hazaras.

City police chief Mir Zubair Mehmood told Reuters that the students on the bus were from various ethnic groups, including Hazaras, targets of a series of bombings this year.(Courtesy:The Daily Star)

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