10 police officers killed in suicide bombing in southwestern Pakistan


QUATTA, Pakistan (AP) At least 10 police officers were killed and 12 injured when a motorcycle-riding suicide bomber crashed into a police truck in Pakistan’s troubled southwest. Officials said he was one of the deadliest attacks on security forces in recent months.

No one immediately claimed responsibility for the bridge bombing in Sibi district of Balochistan.

Local police chief Mahmoud said officers were on a regular patrol when the attack took place, initially killing nine, who were taken to a nearby hospital with serious injuries. One of his officers later died, he added. Sibi is about 150 kilometers east of the state capital, Quetta. The blast overturned the truck and caused further injuries. Trucks often transport troops in Pakistan.

Notenzai said the officers who were attacked were dispatched last week to his Sibi, where the annual cultural festival was being held under heavy security. Military helicopters were dispatched to evacuate the seriously injured to hospitals in Quetta where better medical facilities were available.

Last year, suicide bombers from the militant group Islamic State targeted the security forces of President Arif Alvi, who was visiting the Sibi festival. Arvi was far from the bombing site where five soldiers were killed. IS fighters later claimed responsibility for the attack.

This festival has been celebrated for centuries to mark the beginning of summer.

Prime Minister Shabazz Sharif condemned the attack. In a statement, he expressed his condolences to the families of those killed and ordered health officials to provide the best medical care possible to the injured police officers. He said the attack was part of a nefarious enemy’s plan to destabilize Pakistan and vowed to defeat terrorism.

The highest elected official in Balochistan, Abdul Quds Bizenjo, also condemned the bombing.

“Terrorists who carry out such attacks are enemies of Pakistan,” he said, adding that they would not shake the resolve of the country’s police.

Balochistan has long wrestled with low-level insurgency by the Balochistan Liberation Army and other small separatist groups demanding independence from Islamabad’s central government.

Authorities claim they have quelled the riots, but the violence continues. The province has also seen attacks by Pakistani Taliban and Islamic State group militants.