Updated: 07/01/2013 01:40 | By Agence France-Presse

Suicide attack kills 19 in Pakistan's Quetta: police

A suicide bomber on Sunday tried to blow up a Shiite Muslim mosque in Pakistan's southwestern city of Quetta, killing 19 people and wounding more than 50 others at a checkpoint, officials said.


Suicide attack kills 19 in Pakistan's Quetta: police

The scene of a bomb attack in Badaber, on the outskirts of Peshawar on June 30, 2013. A suicide bomber on Sunday tried to blow up a Shiite Muslim mosque in Pakistan's southwestern city of Quetta, killing 19 people and wounding more than 50 others at a checkpoint, officials said.

The attack happened in congested Hazara town, a mainly Shiite community on the edge of Quetta, where a massive bombing killed 90 Shiite Hazaras in February this year.

"The suicide bomber wanted to target a Shiite mosque, but he exploded himself before getting there. Nineteen people have been killed and 51 others are injured," said police official Fayaz Sumbal.

Baluchistan provincial home secretary Akbar Hussain Durrani said the bomber blew himself up at a checkpoint set up by a local neighbourhood volunteers around 50 yards away from the mosque.

"The suicide bomber was intercepted at a security checkpoint manned by Hazara Town civilian boys. They stopped him at the barrier 50 yards away from the mosque and he blew himself up there," he said.

"The evening prayers had just ended in the mosque and most of the victims are Shiite Muslims. Among them six are women and one is a child," Durrani told AFP.

He confirmed the death toll had reached 19.

Quetta is one of the most volatile cities in Pakistan, gripped by Taliban violence, a separatist Baluch insurgency and a growing number of attacks on the Shiite minority.

Hazara Town in particular has been a flashpoint for attacks on Shiites and the minority Hazara ethnic group. Locals have set up checkpoints controlling access to the neighbourhood, accusing regular security forces of being unable to stop the attacks.

The bombing brought to 44 the number of people killed in Pakistan on Sunday, the deadliest day in the nuclear-armed state since an attack killed 50 people in a Shiite area of Karachi on March 3.

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