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Bloody day for Pakistan as bombs kill 118

Suicide attackers target Shi'ite Muslims, first responders and journalists

Bloody day for Pakistan as bombs kill 118
Local residents gather at the site of twin suicide bombings in Quetta (AFP photo/Banaras Khan) reporter, Quetta

January 11, 2013

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A string of bombings, including a twin suicide attack on a snooker club in Quetta, has killed at least 118 people and injured scores of others, in one of the deadliest days the country has witnessed in years.

The first bomber at the snooker club yesterday targeted the crowd inside the venue, located near Kandhari Imambargah (a congregation hall for Shi'ite ceremonies), police officials said.  

The second blast occurred 15 minutes later as rescue workers and the media gathered at the scene which is in a Shi’ite dominated area.

That same afternoon, 12 people were killed when a bomb exploded at a busy crossroads in the city.

And in another incident, a bomb exploded at a religious gathering in the northwestern Swat valley, killing 22 people and wounding more than 80.

No group has yet claimed responsibility for the attacks.

Intezar Masih lives close by to the snooker club. He lost his 29 year old brother in the second blast. He worked as a driver for the Edhi Foundation, a non-profit social welfare program.

“He was on holiday but was called to the scene when the first bomb struck. After taking a first batch of bodies to the hospital, he returned and was caught in the second blast,” said Masih whose house echoed with wailing women.

“For several hours we checked different hospitals in search of his body. People were carrying body parts of their loved ones in blood-soaked clothes,” he said.

Abdul Khaliq Hazara, chairman of the mainly Shi’ite Hazara Democratic Party in Quetta, called the bombings a sectarian attack. He has also announced three-day of mourning.

“Almost all of those who died belonged to Shia [Shi’ite] community. We are trying to maintain calm and prevent further instability”, he said.

“The extremist mindset which was nourished against the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan has backlashed on our nation. We are following an outdated philosophy which is not acceptable to The modern world”.

Muhammad Asim Makhdoom information secretary of Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam, a religious conservative political party, condemned the attacks, calling them as a conspiracy against religious groups.

“The bloodshed will not end until we quit the foreign imposed war on terror. We condemn all terrorists who are using religion to make us fight against each other,” said the Sunni leader.

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