Woman LeJ suicide bomber hit Quetta university bus: Pak police
Islamabad: A woman Lashkar-e-Jhangvi suicide bomber carried out the devastating attack on a university bus carrying women and her male accomplice struck a hospital in Pakistan`s southwestern city of Quetta, police said, as the death toll on Sunday rose to 26 in the multiple strikes.
The banned sectarian outfit Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LeJ) has claimed responsibility for yesterday`s attacks on the bus and at the Bolan Medical Complex, saying they were carried out in retaliation for a raid against the group by security forces.
A senior security official today said the first blast was carried out by a woman suicide bomber on the bus of the Sardar Bahadur Khan University for women medical students in which fourteen students were killed.
About 40 students and teachers were in the bus, waiting to go home after classes. Twenty-two women were injured by the powerful blast.
According to the official, who declined to be named, the woman bomber had managed to sneak in and get on the bus and detonate herself causing the extensive damage and killings.
After the attack when the injured were shifted to the Bolan Medical Complex, a male suicide bomber and other heavily armed militants struck the building, firing indiscriminately.
At least 12 people including four militants, four nurses and the Deputy Commissioner of Quetta were killed in the nearly four hours siege of the complex where the injured students were brought for treatment, the official said.
"The siege only ended after an extensive gun battle and a male suicide bomber blowing himself up," the official said.
"The militants had planned everything out... The male suicide bomber was waiting inside BMC Hospital ward for the arrival of high level officials, including the Chief Secretary, and blew up himself when they reached," he said.
Reports said the university bus was assigned for students from a nearby neighbourhood dominated by the Shia Hazara community, which has been the target of several attacks by the LeJ.
Deputy Commissioner Abdul Mansoor Kakar, Shabbir Magsi, the medico-legal officer of the hospital, four nurses and as many Frontier Corps personnel were killed in the second attack.
One militant was captured by security forces, who also
freed 35 hostages.
Chief Secretary Babar Yaqoob Fateh Muhammad confirmed 26 people had died and about 50 were injured in both attacks.
A captain of the Frontier Corps, a senior police officer, Assistant Commissioner Anwar Ali and several staff and patients of the hospital were among the injured.
"We will be able to give thorough details of the number of dead and injured after we complete a search of the hospital," the Chief Secretary said.
It is still not clear how many militants were involved in the attack on the hospital.
Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan told reporters yesterday that preliminary information suggested 12 to 14 militants had stormed the complex.
It was also not clear if any militants had escaped while troops carried out a six-hour operation to clear the hospital.
Abu Bakar Siddique, a spokesman of the LeJ, telephoned the Quetta Press Club and claimed responsibility for the attacks. He said they were carried out in response to a raid against the LeJ in Kharotabad area last week.
The Balochistan government announced a day of mourning today and the national flag flew at half-mast over official buildings.
Civil society groups and traders` associations too called for a day of mourning and most of Quetta was shut down to protest the attacks, which were the first major terrorist incidents since new governments assumed office at the centre and in Balochistan.
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