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Dozens killed in Pakistan bombing as pre-election violence surges

Police Line Do Not Cross (Pixabay/geralt)

Dozens of people were killed Friday when a suicide bomber blew himself up at an election meeting in southwestern Pakistan, adding to violence and turmoil ahead of the July 25 vote.

At least 85 people were killed and 150 wounded as a candidate addressed his supporters in Mastung, in troubled Baluchistan province near the Afghan border, the provincial health minister told local news media.

Officials said the death toll could rise further as many of the injured were in critical condition.

Four others were killed and scores wounded earlier Friday when a bomb planted in a motorcycle went off at an election rally in the northern district of Bannu. The attacks came days after Islamist militants claimed responsibility for a suicide blast at an election rally in the northern city of Peshawar that killed 22 people.

The bombing in Mastung occurred as Nawabzada Siraj Raisani, a candidate for the local legislature, was addressing supporters. Raisani is the younger brother of the former chief minister of Baluchistan, where separatist militants have waged a long-running insurgency against the Pakistani state.

No group immediately claimed responsibility for the bombing.

Salim Shahid, a resident of the provincial capital, Quetta, said by phone that an emergency had been declared in all the city’s hospitals as critically injured patients were being brought in from Mastung. The blast was one of the deadliest to target civilians in Pakistan all year.


© 2018 Los Angeles Times

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