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Six Killed In Pakistan Roadside Bomb Blast Targeting Islamist Leader At Anti-Israel Rally

Local residents examine damaged vehicles at the site of a bomb blast in Chaman, southwestern Pakistan, on May 21.

At least six people were killed and several others were wounded on May 21 when a powerful roadside bomb exploded near a vehicle carrying a local leader of an Islamist political party in Pakistan.

No one claimed responsibility for the attack in Chaman, a town in the southwestern Balochistan province, and police said they were still investigating.

The attack occurred while Abdul Qadir, a local leader of a faction of the Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam party, was on his way to attend a rally in support of the Palestinian people amid the Israeli-Hamas conflict in Gaza, local police chief Abdul Bashir said.

Deputy Commissioner of Kala Abdullah district Javed Mangal told Radio Mashaal five more people were wounded in the blast. Other officials put the number of the wounded at 14.

Security forces in Balochistan have been battling an insurgency for more than a decade. Baluch separatists demand complete autonomy or a larger share of the province’s gas and mineral resources for the local population.

Pakistani Taliban and other militants also have a presence in the region.

Elsewhere in Pakistan, thousands of people rallied in support of the Palestinians on May 21, after religious parties and the government issued a call for countrywide demonstrations.

In Islamabad, a group of lawmakers staged a rally in front of the parliament. They were joined by large number of people and activists from the ruling Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaaf party.

Separately, a protest rally was also held in front of the Islamabad Press Club.

In the northwestern city of Peshawar, the Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam issued a call for a protest rally which is going to be addressed by the party's chief Maulana Fazlur Rahman.

RFE/RL correspondents report that ahead of the rally, the main road in the city of Peshawar has been closed by the authorities.

Pakistan does not have diplomatic ties with Israel.

With reporting by AP, AFP, and dpa