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Pakistani Police Officers Killed In Suicide Attack At Funeral

  • RFE/RL's Radio Mashaal

QUETTA, Pakistan -- At least 30 people have been killed after a suicide bomber blew himself up at a funeral procession in the country's volatile southwest.

Pakistani police said attack on August 8 in Quetta, the capital of Balochistan Province, also wounded more than 50 people.

Most of the dead and injured were police officers. Among the dead was Fayyaz Sumbal, the head of police operations in Quetta.

The city's police chief, Mir Zubair Mehmood, said the funeral was being held for a police officer who was gunned down earlier in the day in Quetta.

The suicide bomber struck as police officers lined up to offer prayers for their colleague.

He was reportedly wearing a jacket packed with ball bearings and shrapnel.

"I was busy making the queues [for the funeral of a police officer]. No sooner had our officers reached the site than there was a huge explosion," one police officer said in describing the scene.

"I dropped to the ground and could not see anything as there was smoke everywhere. There were dead bodies everywhere. All of my officers were martyred. I can't express my grief: all my officers lost their lives."

The Pakistani Taliban has claimed responsibility for the attack. Spokesman Shahidullah Shahid said the group carried out the attack to punish police officers in Quetta, as they were "working against Islam."

Sectarian Flashpoint

Balochistan suffers from Islamist militancy and a regional insurgency, with rebels demanding political autonomy and a greater share of profits from the region's natural resources.

It has also increasingly become a flashpoint for sectarian violence between Pakistan's majority Sunni Muslims and Shi'a.

The attack came a day before Muslims in Pakistan were to start celebrating the Eid al-Fitr holiday that marks the end of the fasting month of Ramadan.

More than 120 people have been killed in attacks in Pakistan during Ramadan, which is one of the holiest times on the Islamic calendar.

With reporting by AP and Reuters