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Car Bomb In Southwestern Pakistan Kills At Least 13


Pakistani security officials inspect the scene of a blast near the inspector-general of police office in Quetta on June 23.

A powerful car bombing close to the office of the provincial police chief in southwestern Pakistan has killed 13 people and wounded 20, officials say.

The June 23 blast in Quetta, the capital of Balochistan Province, was heard across the city, shattering windows of nearby buildings, police spokesman Shahzada Farhat said.

A Pakistani Taliban faction calling itself Jamat ul-Ahrar claimed responsibility for the attack.

"It is not known yet if it was a suicide blast," Balochistan Home Secretary Akbar Haripal told RFE/RL. "But we can't rule it out. It is possible. We are in very initial stages and we are investigating."

At least five of those killed were police officers.

Wasim Beg, a spokesman at a local hospital, said some of the wounded were in critical condition.

TV footage showed several badly damaged cars and a road littered with broken glass.

No one claimed responsibility for the attack.

Resource-rich Balochistan, bordering Afghanistan and Iran, has been plagued by sectarian violence, Islamist militant attacks, and a separatist insurgency that has led to thousands of casualties since 2004.

Based on reporting by AP, Reuters, and Dawn
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