Wednesday 18 September 2019

Bomb attack causes death and injury in Pakistan mosque

The prayer leader was among those killed in the attack on the outskirts of the south-western city of Quetta.

People gather at a mosque following a bomb blast in Kuchlak near Quetta, Pakistan (Arshad Butt/AP)
People gather at a mosque following a bomb blast in Kuchlak near Quetta, Pakistan (Arshad Butt/AP)

By Abdul Sattar, AP

Four worshippers have been killed after a powerful bomb exploded inside a mosque in Pakistan during Friday prayers.

The prayer leader was among those killed in the attack on the outskirts of the south-western city of Quetta, where the Afghan Taliban have had a strong presence.

Abdul Ali, a local police chief, said the bomb was planted inside the mosque and was remotely detonated.

He said about 20 wounded worshippers were taken to nearby hospitals in Quetta, the capital of Baluchistan province.

Quetta police chief Abdur Razzaq Cheema said the bomb was planted under the wooden chair of the prayer leader.

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Volunteers rush an injured person to a hospital in Quetta (Arshad Butt/AP)

It was unclear who was behind the attack but the mosque is located two miles from Kuchlak, a stronghold of Taliban insurgents where Maulvi Hibatullah Akhunzada once lived before becoming the Taliban chief and moving to an undisclosed location in Afghanistan.

According to unconfirmed reports, the dead prayer leader, Maulvi Ahmadullah, was a relative or friend of Akhunzada.

The Kuchlak area is a major crossing point for Afghan Taliban between Pakistan and Afghanistan, who meet their leadership, receive medical treatment or even stay there to relax.

It is also the same area where Akhunzada operated several madrassas or religious schools before becoming the Taliban chief.

The attack comes as the US seeks to find a peace agreement that will allow American troops to return home from a war that is into its 18th year.

Pakistani militants have been blamed for previous such attacks in Baluchistan.

Separatist groups also often target security forces in the impoverished province in a bid to get a larger share of provincial resources and wealth or outright autonomy from Islamabad.

Pakistan’s government claims it has quelled the insurgency but violence has continued.

PA Media

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