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At least 20 killed in market blast in Pakistani city of Quetta

15 April 2019

A suicide bombing tore through a vegetable market in a Shi'ite Hazara neighborhood of the north Pakistani city of Quetta on Friday morning, killing at least 20 people and wounding 40 others.

"The blast was targeting members of the Hazara community", DAWN quoted Deputy Inspector General (DIG) Abdul Razzaq Cheema as saying.

Cheema, the police chief said at least eight Shiites were among the dead, as well as a paramilitary soldier and seven other people.

Pakistani Taliban militants have been waging a campaign of bombings and other attacks on Pakistani security forces. He said the government will fully implement the National Action Plan (NAP) and no terrorist will be spared no matter which organisation they belong to.

The protesters in Quetta have refused to call off their sit-in until their demands were met, including the arrests of those behind the attack and stepped-up measures to protect their community. The committee voiced serious concern over the Quetta blast and continued killings of members of the Hazara community.

Hazara make up about 500,000 of Quetta's 2.3 million people.

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The LeJ is a Sunni militant group, which has claimed responsibility for several deadly attacks against the minority Shia community in Pakistan, including the 2013 blasts in Quetta that killed over 200 Hazara Shias.

Mengal had been detained for three months under maintenance of public order regulations. A security source suspected that the Islamic State (IS) might be the culprit based on the information they obtained.

The Islamic State group, also known by its Arabic acronym Da'ish, claimed the responsibility.

"Targeted for their religion by sectarian armed groups, they have suffered many such tragedies over several years".

"Prime Minister Imran Khan's government has made important commitments to protect all religious groups in the country".

The body parts of the suspected attacker have been sent to the Punjab Forensic Science Agency for DNA testing, he said, adding that the test reports would be handed over to Balochistan Chief Minister Jam Kamal.

At least 20 killed in market blast in Pakistani city of Quetta