String of bombings leave 125 people dead in Quetta, Swat Valley
A string of bombings in Pakistan including a twin suicide attack on a snooker hall used by Shiite Muslims has left 125 people dead, in one of the nation's deadliest days in years.
At least 92 people were killed and 121 wounded on Thursday when two suicide bombers blew themselves up at the crowded snooker club in an area of the southwestern city of Quetta dominated by the Shiite community, a police officer said.
Extremist Sunni militant group Lashkar-e-Jhangvi claimed responsibility for what was the worst single attack ever on the minority community, which accounts for around 20 percent of Pakistan's 180 million-strong population.
It was also the deadliest attack in Pakistan since twin suicide bombers killed 98 people outside a police training centre in the northwestern town of Shabqadar on May 13, 2011 — shortly after US troops killed Osama bin Laden.
Earlier on Thursday, a bomb detonated under a security forces' vehicle in a crowded part of Quetta, killing 11 people and wounding dozens more. And in a third incident, a bomb exploded at a religious gathering in the northwestern Swat valley, killing 22 people and wounding more than 80, in the deadliest incident in the district since the army in 2009 fought off a two-year Taliban insurgency.
At the snooker club the first suicide bomber struck inside the building, then 10 minutes later an attacker in a car outside blew himself up as police, media workers and rescue teams rushed to the site, said officer Mir Zubair Mehmood.
Akbar Hussain Durrani, the home secretary in the provincial government of Baluchistan, told AFP that the death toll had risen to 82 with more than 120 wounded.
Nine police personnel, three local journalists and several rescue workers were among those killed, officials said. The snooker club was frequented mostly by Shiites, police said.
Lashkar-e-Jhangvi claimed responsibility in telephone calls to local journalists. The group has links to Al-Qaeda and the Taliban, and was among several involved in the kidnap and beheading of reporter Daniel Pearl in January 2002.