At least 15 killed in suicide blast near polio centre in Quetta

QUETTA: A suicide bomber blew himself up outside a polio vaccination centre in Quetta on Wednesday, killing at least 15 people, mainly police, officials said.

The policemen had been gathering outside the centre to accompany polio workers on the third day of a vaccination campaign which are frequently targeted by Taliban and other Islamist militant groups in Pakistan.

“There are 15 dead, including 12 police, one paramilitary, and two civilians,” a local police official told AFP.

Balochistan Home Minister Sarfraz Bugti added: “So far 15 people have been injured in the blast, seven of whom are in critical condition.”

Some officials had begun to gather evidence from the scene while others were collecting body parts to put in bags.

Eye-witness Shabir Ahmed, a 32-year-old police constable, told AFP he had been deployed to protect a polio vaccination team that was due to leave for various neighbourhoods of Quetta at 10 am.

“Suddenly there was a loud bang and I fell to the ground, I could not see anything, there was dust everywhere,” he said.

“Then I heard people screaming and sirens of ambulances,” he continued, adding he had received shrapnel wounds to his stomach, hands, legs and feet.

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