KARACHI: A suicide bomber blew up his explosives-laden car near the office of the regional police chief in Pakistan's restive Balochistan province today, killing at least 13 people, including seven policemen, and injuring 21 others.
The powerful blast took place near Inspector General of Police Ehsan Mehboob's office on Gulistan Road area of the provincial capital, Quetta.
The blast was claimed by both the local affiliate of the Islamic State terror group and by Jamaat-ul-Ahrar (JuA), a splinter group of the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan.
Thirteen people, including seven policemen, died in the suicide car bombing, officials said.
The bodies were shifted to the Civil Hospital after the attack, according to hospital officials. Of the injured, nine are said to be policemen.
Balochistan government spokesperson Anwarul Haq Kakar told Geo News that the suspected bomber in the car tried to break a security perimetre to target the police offices but blew up after policemen standing guard attempted to stop him.
Kakar blamed India for the blast.
Security officials also confirmed that the blast was the result of a vehicle-borne improvised explosive device which exploded after the "suspicious" driver was spotted by policemen.
DIG Quetta Abdul Razzaq Cheema, addressing the media, said they are examining CCTV footage to determine the details of the incident.
Security forces cordoned off the site of the blast and began investigating after rescue services shifted the injured and deceased to the hospital.
Officials said body parts of the suspected bomber, strewn across the site of the blast, were being collected along with other evidence for forensic examination.
An initial investigation report by Civil Defence Director Aslam Tareen revealed that 75 kilogrammes of explosives were used in the blast.
Footage of the incident showed two vehicles badly damaged in the explosion, while debris lay scattered on the street.
Officials said the explosion was loud enough to be heard from a distance and shattered windows of nearby buildings.
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif condemned the attack, saying that terrorists involved in the attack will be taken to task and all out efforts will be taken to eliminate terrorism.
President Mamnoon Hussain, Senate Chairman Raza Rabbani, Punjab Chief Minister Shehbaz Sharif, Governor Balochistan Muhammad Khan Achakzai and former president Asif Ali Zardari, among others, also condemned the attack.
Earlier this year, on February 13, a blast took place near the Saryab Bridge in Quetta killing two personnel of the bomb disposal squad and leaving 11 injured.
Later in March, an explosion targeting a security forces convoy occurred on Saryab Road. Four people were injured including three Frontier Corps personnel and a passer-by.
In August, last year, a suicide bomber targeted the emergency services ward at Civil Hospital, following the death of the president of the Balochistan High Court Bar Association, killing at least 70 people and leaving many wounded.