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    11 dead, 22 wounded in Quetta car suicide blast

    QUETTA (PAN): Nearly a dozen people were killed and scores of others wounded in a car suicide blast near a mosque in Pakistan's southwestern city of Quetta, the capital of Balochistan province, on Wednesday, officials said.

    People were offering Eidul Fitr prayers at a mosque in the Mariabad locality, Alamdar Road, when the bomb exploded, leaving at least 11 people dead and 22 others wounded, police said. The victims were Shiite Muslims.

    Dad Mohammad, a witness, told Pajhwok Afghan News the bomb was planted on a car parked near the mosque. "It was a huge blast and smoke and dust filled the entire area," he said.

    A number of nearby shops and vehicles parked in front of the mosque were damaged by the explosion, Mohammad said, confirming the deaths of 10 people and injuries to more than 20 others.

    A doctor on duty at the Quetta central hospital, Dr. Shamsullah, confirmed they had been delivered with five of the 10 dead bodies. The remaining five dead bodies were taken to the Bolan Medical Hospital, he said.

    Another 18 people with injuries were brought to the hospital, the doctor said, adding two of the injured are in a critical condition.

    However, Quetta police chief, Hameed Shakeel, put the toll at five dead and 11 injured. He said the dead included a woman and a child.

    Citing initial reports, the police official said, up to 49 kilograms of explosives were used in the blast.

    No group has so far claimed responsibility for the incident.

    Live television footage showed swirls of thick black smoke rising from the area as people ran into the street, some pushing their cars to safety, while ambulances carried away the wounded.

    Balochistan has seen a recent surge in violence linked to a separatist insurgency, sectarian clashes and Taliban militants.