Tuesday, January 21, 2014

22 dead in blast targeting pilgrims' bus in Mastung

22 dead in blast targeting pilgrims' bus in Mastung

Published: January 21, 2014

Express News screen grab of the bus.
Express News screen grab of the bus.Targeted bus was carrying pilgrims traveling to Iran. PHOTO: AFP/FILE
A suicide blast occurred near the Dareen Garh area of Mastung, Balochistan leaving 22 dead and 20 injured on Tuesday evening, reported Express News.
The blast was targeting two buses full of 103 pilgrims who were traveling back from Iran.
A police officer Faran Ali told The Express Tribune that at least 12 dead bodies and 13 injured have so far been shifted to Quetta from Mastung. Ambulances were sent from Quetta to bring the dead bodies and Injured. The bodies and injured were shifted to Combine Military Hospital (CMH).
“I saw at least ten dead bodies and many injured lying in a pool of blood. The bus caught fire after the explosion,” said Arif, who sustained injuries in the attack.
Severe firing took place following the blast which resulted in security officials cordoning off the area.
“We have declared state of emergency at CMH, Provincial Sandeman Hospital and Bolan Medical Complex Teaching Hospital (BMC),” DIG police Quetta Mohammed Jaffar said.
The injured include security officials, women and children.
Majlis Wahdat-e-Muslimeen has declared three days of mourning for the victims of the blast.
Earlier, on January 1, a bomb blast targeted a passenger bus carrying Shia pilgrims from Taftan, a town in Balochistan bordering with Iran.
The blast had killed two people and left 31 injured.
Similarly, in October 2013, A car bomb hit a Frontier Corps (FC) van escorting a bus of Shia pilgrims in Dringarh, Mastung, killing two soldiers.
Frontier Corps and Balochistan Levies convoys were escorting five passenger buses of Shia pilgrims on the highway when they found a suspected car parked on the road.
“The buses were stopped from proceeding and two FC personnel got off and went near to search the car. As they got closer to the car, a huge explosion took place killing both on the spot,” Assistant Commissioner Mastung Shafqat Anwar told The Express Tribune.
After increasing number of attacks on Shia pilgrims, security on Quetta-Taftan highway was beefed up and the buses carrying Shia pilgrims were escorted by FC and Balochistan Levies personnel.
A large number of Shia pilgrims go to Iran to visit the sacred places through Quetta and most of them travel on passenger buses.  Balochistan provincial government held a high level meeting to devise a security plan ahead of Muharam to foil any possible terrorism attempts in Quetta and national highways.

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