A suicide bomber has killed at least 70 people as they gathered to mourn a murdered journalist in Pakistan. The devastating attack took place at a hospital in Quettain, in the violence-plagued southwestern province of Baluchistan.
The bomber struck as more than 100 grievers, mostly lawyers and journalists, crowded into the emergency department to accompany the body of a prominent lawyer, who had been shot and killed in the city earlier in the day.
“There are many wounded, so the death toll could rise,” said Rehmat Saleh Baloch, the provincial health minister.
Taliban faction Jamaat-ur-Ahrar claimed responsibility for the atrocity. “The Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan Jamaat-ur-Ahrar takes responsibility for this attack, and pledges to continue carrying out such attacks.
“We will release a video report on this soon,” spokesman Ehsanullah Ehsan said in an email. Television footage showed scenes of chaos, with panicked people fleeing through debris as smoke filled the hospital corridors.
The motive behind the attack was unclear and no group had yet claimed responsibility, but several lawyers have been targeted during a recent spate of killings in Quetta.