Pakistan: Eight killed in hospital blast

Saturday, April 17, 2010

A suicide bomber attacked an emergency room of a hospital in Quetta, located in southwest Pakistan, killing eight people, including three policemen. Approximately 35 people were wounded in the attack. The explosion occurred in the Civil Hospital of the city.

"The latest death toll is eight," Qazi Abdul Wahid, police chief of the province, told Agence France-Presse news agency. He said that two senior police officers, a police commando along with a cameraman for a local television channel, died in the attack. Four other journalists were wounded, he added. Hospital authorities confirmed these figures. Television footage showed rescuers carrying away the dead and the injured from the scene of the incident.

"It appears to be sectarian violence," Wahid added. "Evidence collected so far indicate it (the blast) was a suicide attack," he commented. Mohammad Iqbal, another police official stated "it was a suicide attack." "We have found legs and head from the blast site. We have also found metal pellets, usually stuffed in suicide vests, from the blast site", Iqbal noted.

The hospital was full of journalists who were reporting about the shooting of a bank manager belonging to the Shiite community. Mohammad Sabir, another police official, claimed the room was full of the manager's friends and family when the suicide bomber attacked.

Quetta is the capital of the Baluchistan province of the country. It has frequently witnessed disputes and clashes between the Sunni and Shiite communities. Several people have died in multiple conflicts in the province. In February this year, suspected Sunni insurgents blew up a bus with Shiite worshippers. Two hours after the incident, a hospital treating the victims was attacked. 25 people died in that incident, with 100 being injured.