At least three people were killed and 23, including 20 security personnel, injured in a suicide blast targeting a truck carrying police officers to protect polio workers in Pakistan’s restive Balochistan province on Wednesday, police said.
The attack took place in Quetta’s Baleli area as the police truck was moving the security personnel deployed for the security of polio workers for the ongoing drive.
“The explosion took place near the police truck […] due to the impact [of the blast], the vehicle — which was on its way to provide security to police workers — toppled and fell into a ditch,” Quetta Deputy Inspector General of Police (DIGP) Ghulam Azfar Mahesar was quoted as saying by the Dawn newspaper.
“Looking at the crime scene and given that the truck toppled, it is estimated that 25 kilograms of explosives were used [in the blast],” he said while speaking to media at the blast site.
Police delay filing FIR against BJP worker in abetment to suicide case; victim’s parents express outrage
Mahesar said that the explosion was a suicide attack as they have found remains of a suicide bomber near the crime scene.
He said that around 20 policemen and four civilians were injured. The condition of two of the cops is serious.
Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif condemned the targetted attack and ordered immediate probe into the matter, Geo News reported.
President Dr Arif Alvi also condemned the attack and prayed for the forgiveness of the deceased and recovery of the injured.
The attack comes a day after the banned militant group Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) called off its ceasefire with the government and asked its combatants to carry out attacks across the country.
Attacks on workers of the anti-polio vaccination drives in Pakistan have increased in recent times.
In March this year, gunmen in northwestern Pakistan shot and killed a female polio worker as she was returning home after taking part in the country’s latest anti-polio campaign.
In January last year, armed gunmen shot dead a police officer guarding a team of polio vaccine handlers in northwestern Pakistan.
Pakistan, along with Afghanistan, remains the last polio-endemic country in the world, according to the World Health Organisation.