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Suicide bomber in Pakistan kills 8 at Islamist rally

A powerful suicide bombing has killed eight people and wounded 16 others in Pakistan’s restive Baluchistan province, local police say, when it struck an Islamist rally in the regional capital.

Police say the blast went off near Quetta’s press club, where dozens of supporters for a Sunni militant group had gathered outside. They add that police officers are among those killed.

Hospital officials say some of the wounded people are listed in critical condition.

No one immediately claims responsibility for the bombing. Baluch separatist groups, as well as rival Shiite and Sunni militants, operate in the province and have staged similar attacks before.

City police chief Abur Razza Cheema says dozens of followers of the radical Ahle Sunnat Wal Jammat party were rallying to pay tribute to Islam’s first caliph when the bomber blew himself up there.

Footage on social media appears to show the explosion ripping through the local bazaar, sending people running for shelter.

The bombing destroyed some nearby shops and vehicles, police say.

The impoverished province of Baluchistan has long been the scene of a low-level insurgency by armed groups demanding more autonomy for the region and a greater share in gas and mineral resources there. The government claims it has quelled the insurgency but violence has continued.

— AP

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