The LeJ carried out the devastating attack on a bus and hospital in Quetta in which 26 persons have been killed and 50 people injured.

A woman Lashkar-e-Jhangvi suicide bomber carried out the devastating attack on a university bus carrying women, even as her male accomplice struck a hospital in Pakistan’s southwestern city of Quetta, police said, as the death toll on Sunday rose to 26 in the multiple strikes.

The banned sectarian outfit LeJ has claimed responsibility for Saturday’s attacks on the bus and at the Bolan Medical Complex, saying they were carried out in retaliation for a raid against the group by security forces.

A senior security official said the first blast was carried out by a woman suicide bomber on the bus of the Sardar Bahadur Khan University for women medical students in which 14 students were killed and 22 injured in the bus carrying 40 students.

According to an official the woman bomber had managed to sneak in and get on the bus and detonate herself causing the extensive damage and killings.

Male bomber hits hospital

After the attack when the injured were shifted to the Bolan Medical Complex, a male suicide bomber and other heavily armed militants struck the building, firing indiscriminately.

At least 12 people including four militants, four nurses and the Deputy Commissioner of Quetta were killed in the nearly four hours siege of the complex where the injured students were brought for treatment, the official said.

“The siege only ended after an extensive gun battle and a male suicide bomber blowing himself up,” the official said.

“The militants had planned everything out... the male suicide bomber was waiting inside BMC Hospital ward for the arrival of high level officials, including the Chief Secretary, and blew up himself when they reached,” he said.

Reports said the university bus was assigned for students from a nearby neighbourhood dominated by the Shia Hazara community, which has been the target of several attacks by the LeJ.

Deputy Commissioner Abdul Mansoor Kakar, the hospital’s medico-legal officer Shabbir Magsi, four nurses and as many Frontier Corps personnel were killed in the second attack. One militant was captured by security forces, who also freed 35 hostages.

Chief Secretary Babar Yaqoob Fateh Muhammad confirmed 26 people had died and about 50 were injured in both attacks.

A captain of the Frontier Corps, a senior police officer, Assistant Commissioner Anwar Ali and several staff and patients of the hospital were among the injured.

“We will be able to give thorough details of the number of dead and injured after we complete a search of the hospital,” the Chief Secretary said. It is still not clear how many militants were involved in the attack on the hospital.

Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan told reporters that preliminary information suggested 12 to 14 militants had stormed the complex. It was also not clear if any militants had escaped while troops carried out a six-hour operation to clear the hospital.

LeJ owns attack

Abu Bakar Siddique, a spokesman of the LeJ, telephoned the Quetta Press Club and claimed responsibility for the attacks. He said they were carried out in response to a raid against the LeJ in Kharotabad area last week.

The Balochistan government announced a day of mourning on Sunday and the national flag flew at half-mast on official buildings.

Civil society groups and traders’ associations too called for a day of mourning and most of Quetta was shut down to protest the attacks, which were the first major terrorist incidents since new governments assumed office at the centre and in Balochistan.