published Thursday, May 23rd, 2013

Police: Car bomb kills 12 in southwest Pakistan

QUETTA, Pakistan — A car bomb targeting a police vehicle killed 11 policemen and one civilian Thursday in an area of southwest Pakistan wracked by a separatist insurgency and Islamic militancy, police said.

The bombing on the outskirts of Quetta, the capital of Baluchistan province, also wounded 23 people, said senior police officer Fayaz Sumbal. The car was packed with around 100 kilograms (220 pounds) of explosives and was parked alongside a road in the city. It was detonated by remote control when a vehicle carrying members of the police’s special forces team passed by, said Sumbal.

Eyewitness Irshad Ali said the blast “was so loud, we thought something had fallen from the sky.” Local TV footage showed that the bomb completely destroyed the police vehicle.

No one has claimed responsibility for the attack.

The special forces unit that was targeted was put together months ago to deal with increasing incidents of kidnappings and shootings in Baluchistan, said Sumbal.

Separatist insurgents have been waging a bloody fight against the government for decades. They want greater autonomy and a larger share of the province’s natural resources.

The province is also home to many Islamic militants, including Taliban chief Mullah Omar according to many intelligence assessments. Radical Sunni Muslim militants have stepped up attacks against minority Shiites in Baluchistan over the past couple years. They view Shiites as heretics and have killed hundreds of them in gun and bomb attacks.

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