At least four people were killed and twenty-two injured, mostly civilian pedestrians, when two roadside bombs in the Pakistani city of Quetta targeted police vehicles hours apart.
In the first attack on Balochistan’s capital on Monday, two police officers and two civilians were killed. A few hours later, another bomb went off in the city close to a police car, injuring four people according to the authorities.
In the city's Qandhari Bazar neighbourhood, a police car was attacked. “Two police officers, one girl, and another civilian also perished in the attack,” Waseem Baig, a spokesman for the city's Civil Hospital, told Al Jazeera on Monday. He also mentioned that at least 15 people suffered injuries in the initial incident.
The "vehicle targeted belonged to a senior police official who was on his way to one of the police stations," Mitha Khan, a police officer present at the hospital, told Al Jazeera. The gunman and driver were killed in the incident, while the senior official was unharmed.
According to Senior Superintendent Police (SSP) spokesman Zohaib Mohsin Baloch, the preliminary inquiry showed that four to five kilogrammes (nine to 11 pounds) of explosives were loaded on a motorbike, which was then remotely detonated.
A separatist organisation, the Balochistan Liberation Army (BLA), claimed responsibility for the initial assault. Members of the Police Eagle Squad in Quetta were attacked by armed men on Sunday evening, killing two and wounding another. The police were able to shoot and kill one of the attackers.
The strikes on Monday happened just a few days after Pakistan's top intelligence agency detained a "high-value target" during an operation against a Baloch rebel group in the province. Gulzar Imam, also known as Shambay, is the BNA's founder and leader
. The banned Baloch Nationalist Army (BNA), according to the army, had been involved in dozens of "terrorist" attacks in the nation. It was also involved in attacks, including those on security forces, and Gulzar Imam was the target, according to a statement released by the military on Friday.
The province of Balochistan, which is rich in natural resources and bordered by Iran and Afghanistan, has witnessed more than 20 years of Baloch separatist uprisings. Nationalist organisations have demanded resource sharing and have, for the past 20 years, started a push for total independence.
Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif condemned the explosion in the capital of Balochistan, offered prayers for the victims, and sent condolences to their families.
On Friday, the National Security Committee (NSC) decided to initiate a national military operation in response to growing security concerns, according to a statement from the prime minister's office.
Furthermore, according to a news release from the prime minister's office, the National Security Council meeting "agreed to launch an all-out comprehensive operation with [the] entire nation and government to rid the country of the menace of terrorism."
In the major operation against armed groups that were carried out in 2014, more than a million people were displaced, and hundreds were murdered.
Since the Pakistan Taliban (Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan, or TTP) unilaterally terminated a ceasefire agreement with the government in November last year, attacks on Pakistan's security forces have dramatically increased in recent months.
Over 100 people, predominantly policemen, were murdered in a suicide bombing at a mosque in the city of Peshawar in the northwest this year. This is a result of strikes carried out by the group and its subgroups.
Edited by- Adedamola Aresbegola
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