QUETTA: A suicide blast at the funeral of a slain police officer in Quetta killed 38 people on Wednesday, including at least 21 police officers, said Balochistan police chief Mushtaq Sukhera.
"So far we can confirm 21 police personnel, including senior police officials, have been killed. Nine other victims are yet to be identified," Inspector General Mushtaq Sukhera told a press conference. "I can confirm 52 people have been injured.
Sukhera confirmed the attack was carried out by a suicide bomber. “The death toll may rise because the condition of most of the injured is critical,” he said.
According to reports, the suicide bomber detonated his explosives outside the mosque in Quetta's Police Lines area where the funeral procession of station house officer Mohibullah was being held. The bomb went off as senior officers prepared to offer prayers for their colleague.
The injured were shifted to the Civil Hospital and the Combined Military Hospital.
Deputy Inspector General (DIG) Police Operations Fayyaz Sumbal, Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP) Headquarters Shamsuddin and Superintendent Ali Mehr were among the senior police officials killed in the bombing.
Sukhera said among the senior officials killed were one DIG and three DSPs. ”Our brave officers embraced martyrdom but we will continue sacrificing our lives for the security of our motherland,” he said.
The blast was the second targeted attack on Thursday on police personnel in the provincial capital, which has been under high security the entire day. SHO Mohibullah was shot dead by unknown gunmen earlier this morning when he was reportedly taking his family for Eid shopping.
Eyewitnesses said fear and chaos spread among the people attending the funeral following the blast. TV channels broadcast live footage from inside the mosque of frightened mourners scrambling for cover as they heard the loud explosion.
“All my colleagues are gone. The DSP, SP, DIG… they’re all gone,” said one emotional eyewitness reduced to tears.
Some described the horror after the explosion. “I was inside the mosque and we were lining up for the funeral prayers when a big blast took place. I came out and saw injured and dead bodies,” policeman Mohammad Hafiz told reporters. “I have no words to explain what I've seen. It was horrible.”
No militant group has yet claimed responsibility for the bombing, one of the worst targeted attacks on police in the violence-hit provincial capital.