Fears for Pakistan as suicide attacks kill 125
By Maaz Khan ,AFPQUETTA, Pakistan -- Extremist bomb attacks killed 125 people in one of Pakistan's deadliest days for years, raising concerns Friday about rising violence in the nuclear-armed country ahead of general elections.
January 12, 2013, 12:00 am TWN
Two suicide bombers killed 92 people and wounded 121 after they targeted a crowded snooker club in the southwestern city of Quetta Thursday, in an area dominated by Shiite Muslims from the Hazara ethnic minority.
Extremist Sunni militant group Lashkar-e-Jhangvi claimed responsibility for what was the worst single attack ever on Shiites, who account for around 20 percent of Pakistan's 180 million population.
It was the deadliest attack in Pakistan since twin suicide bombers killed 98 people outside a police training center in the northwestern town of Shabqadar on May 13, 2011 — shortly after U.S. troops killed Osama bin Laden.
Earlier Thursday, a bomb detonated under a security force vehicle in a crowded part of Quetta, killing 11 people and wounding dozens.
A bomb at a religious gathering in the northwestern Swat valley killed 22 people and wounded more than 80, the deadliest incident in the district since the army in 2009 fought off a two-year Taliban insurgency.
At the snooker club, the first bomber struck inside the building then, 10 minutes later, an attacker in a car blew himself up as police, media workers and rescue teams rushed to the site, said police officer Mir Zubair Mehmood.
“The death toll is now 92. Some bodies were found from the blast site today,” said police official Hamid Shakeel.
He said all but five of the victims had been identified and handed over to their families for burial later Friday.
Nine police, three local journalists, several rescue workers and a spokesman for the Frontier Corps paramilitary were among those killed, officials said.
“We have collected two bags of body parts, including limbs, fingers, upper torsos, lower torsos, legs, feet,” said Mohammed Raza, who works for a Hazara ambulance service.