QUETTA, Pakistan – Bombings killed 49 people in three different areas of Pakistan on Sunday, just as Britain’s prime minister was in the capital pledging to help to fight extremism.
In the deadliest of the attacks, twin blasts near a Shiite mosque in Quetta, the capital of southwest Baluchistan province, killed at least 28 people, including nine women, city police Chief Mir Zubair Mahmood said. Dozens of others were wounded.
Initial reports indicated a hand grenade caused the first blast, forcing people to run toward the mosque, where a suicide bomber detonated his explosives, said another police officer, Fayaz Sumbal.
Security forces prevented the bomber from entering the mosque, or the death toll would have been higher, a local official said. Radical Sunni Muslims have stepped up attacks in the past two years against minority Shiites, whom they consider heretics.
Local TV video showed ambulances rushing victims to the hospital and wheeling them inside on stretchers. Some of the bodies were covered with white sheets. Relatives of the victims frantically entered the emergency room to inquire about their loved ones. Security forces cordoned off the area of the attack. The walls of shops near the blast were pockmarked with holes caused by small steel balls packed with the explosives to cause maximum death and destruction.
In the northwest, a car bomb exploded as a convoy of paramilitary troops passed through the outskirts of the city of Peshawar, killing at least 17 people and wounding dozens of others, police said.
Most of the dead and wounded were civilians, although nine paramilitary Frontier Corps troops were hurt, said police official Shafiullah Khan. The blast struck one Frontier Corps vehicle, but the other passed by safely.
The explosion damaged many other vehicles and shops in the area, according to local TV video. Frontier Corps vehicles rushed to the scene, and a police officer collected evidence from the crater caused by the bomb.
Elsewhere in the northwest, a roadside bomb struck an army convoy and killed four soldiers in the North Waziristan tribal area, said intelligence officials, speaking anonymously. The blast also wounded 20 soldiers, the officials said.
No one has claimed responsibility for the attacks.