January 11, 2013
ISLAMABAD — In one of the deadliest days in Pakistan in recent years, a series of bomb blasts rocked the southwest city of Quetta and the country's northwest Thursday, killing more than 100 people and injuring more than 245 others.
Two of the blasts occurred minutes apart at a billiards hall, local authorities said. A suicide bomber walked into the building and detonated his explosives, police said, while the second blast was the result of a car bomb detonated outside as rescue teams and television crews arrived. The attack killed at least 70 people and wounded more than 160 others.
Most of the casualties were caused by the second explosion, which razed the three-story building. Among the dead were a television cameraman and several first responders. It wasn't known whether that blast was also detonated by a suicide bomber or by remote control.
Earlier in the day, at least 12 people were killed when a roadside bomb exploded at crowded market where several police vehicles were parked. More than 25 people were injured in that attack.
Quetta, home to nearly 900,000 people and the capital of Baluchistan province, has long been used as sanctuary by Islamic militant groups, including top Afghan Taliban leaders waging an 11-year war against Afghan and international security forces in neighboring Afghanistan. It also has been the scene of sectarian violence carried out by Sunni militant groups against minority Shiite Muslims, as well as attacks by Baluch separatists against police and government officials.
It wasn't clear late Thursday whether the billiards hall was a location frequented by Shiites. But Pakistani media reported that Baluchistan's Hazara community, an ethnic group comprised mostly of Shiites, had declared a three-day mourning period as a result of the killings.
No group had claimed responsibility for the attacks as of late Thursday evening.