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Blast At Home Of Taliban-Linked Pakistani Cleric Kills Seven


Pakistani authorities say seven people have been killed by a powerful blast at the home of a Taliban-linked cleric in the remote town of Qillah Saifullah, near the Afghan border.

Deputy commissioner Shafqat Shahwali said on March 16 that more than 10 others, including women and children, were also wounded in the blast late on March 15.

Local police chief Mohammad Yousaf said that the explosion apparently occurred when a bomb or an explosive device was being loaded in a vehicle.

Yousaf identified the slain cleric as Habibullah Khan, who was known for public support of the Afghan Taliban.

Khan's cousin, Khair Mohammad, was quoted as saying that the cleric was a member of Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan, known as the Pakistani Taliban.

Police said some of the wounded were in critical condition in hospital.

Police officer Mohammad Aslam told reporters that the blast was so strong that rescue workers were pulling body parts from the debris of the house, which had completely collapsed.

The town of Qillah Saifullah is located in the Balochistan Province, the scene of a low-level insurgency by separatist groups who demand a greater share of the province's resources.

Balochistan is also believed to be a hiding place for the Afghan Taliban and Pakistani militant groups.

Based on reporting by AP and

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