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Deadly blast strikes Pakistan's Quetta

Explosion near site of independence day celebrations claims at least 10 lives in main city of Baluchistan province.

Quetta

A blast in the Pakistani city of Quetta in Baluchistan province has killed at least 10 people and left many others seriously wounded, reports say.

Saturday's explosion occurred near a stadium where celebrations to mark the 70th anniversary of Pakistan's independence were under way. 

"We have so far received eight dead bodies and 17 injured," Doctor Fareed Sumalani, medical superintendent of the local government hospital, told AFP news agency.

Baluchistan home minister Sarfraz Bugti told local Dunya TV that a rescue operation was underway.

"We are trying to transfer injured people to hospitals as soon as possible. Workers are also busy extinguishing the fire at the site," he said, adding that the holidays of all doctors in the city were suspended.

The nature of the blast could not immediately be determined but an investigation was underway, Bugti said.

No group has claimed responsibility for the attack. 

Quetta, the provincial capital of Baluchistan province, has seen frequent attacks targeting government buildings and security forces, as well as civilians.

In June at least 12 people were killed and 14 others wounded in a suicide car attack near the provincial police headquarters. 

In February, two bomb disposal squad members were killed and 11 others wounded in an explosion under Quetta's Saryab Bridge, local media reported.

In August last year, at least 74 people were killed in a suicide attack on the city's Civil Hospital, while another 60 were killed in an attack on a police academy two months later.

Past attacks in the province have been claimed by the Pakistani Taliban, ISIL, as well as by Baloch separatist fighters who are fighting for independence from Pakistan.

The province has also seen a number of attacks carried out by the Lashkar-e-Jhangvi's Al Alami faction, a group with ties to ISIL, known for attacking Shia Muslims.


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