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Bombings in Pakistan Kill Dozens, Putting Country on Edge

The first attack took place in Quetta, the provincial capital of southwestern Baluchistan Province, when a suicide bomber detonated his explosives after his vehicle was stopped at a security checkpoint. At least 13 people, including seven police officers, were killed and at least 19 were wounded, officials said. The explosion took place near the office of the provincial police chief, but officials said it was not clear if he was the target of the bombing.

Jamaat-ul-Ahrar, a splinter group of the Pakistani Taliban, claimed responsibility for the attack. The Islamic State also made a claim of responsibility, as it has done in several other terrorism episodes in the province in recent months.

Pakistani officials, however, have played down the presence of the Islamic State, also referred to as I.S., in the country. “There is no organized infrastructure of I.S. in Pakistan,” General Ghafoor said. “But some local criminals and militants are sort of bandwagoning them just like when Taliban emerged, and many local criminals did that.”

The general did say, however, that Pakistan saw the hand of India’s spy agency, the Research and Analysis Wing, or RAW, behind the unrest in Baluchistan.

The other terrorist attack on Friday took place in Parachinar, the capital of the Kurram tribal region in the country’s northwest, when back-to-back bombings at Turi market during the evening rush killed at least 40 people and wounded more than 200, according to Hayatulla, a local official who goes by one name.

The second explosion, heard miles away, came just minutes after people and rescue workers had rushed to evacuate the dead and wounded in the relatively smaller first blast. Angry residents staged a sit-in outside the office of the regional administrator to protest the violence and lack of security.

The source of the explosions was unclear, and there was no immediate claim of responsibility.

At least 30 of the wounded were in critical condition, according to hospital officials, and some of the severely injured were ferried to Peshawar, the capital of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Province. The army sent two helicopters from Peshawar to take part in the rescue efforts.

The bombing occurred near a heavily barricaded red zone, home to a Shiite congregation hall and a residential neighborhood.

In January, at least 20 people were killed in Parachinar in a bombing at a vegetable market. The Pakistani Taliban claimed responsibility. Parachinar is a mostly Shiite town, and residents have resisted the Taliban, making them a target of repeated attacks.

Source: NYT > World

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