04/12/2019, 16.37
PAKISTAN
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Twenty die in Shia market attack in Quetta

The market is located in an area with many Hazaras, an ethnic group targeted in the past. The IED was hidden in a sack of potatoes. About 509 Hazaras were killed between January 2012 and December 2017.

Islamabad (AsiaNews/Agencies) – At least 20 people have been killed and 48 injured in a morning attack in Quetta (Balochistan province) in a neighbourhood that is home to many ethnic Hazaras. No group has yet claimed responsibility.

The site for the attack was not random. The famous Hazarganji fruit and vegetable market is crowded on Friday mornings, on the Muslim day of rest. The Improvised Explosive Device (IED) was planted in a gunny sack filled with potatoes.

The attack claimed the lives of at least eight Hazaras and one Frontier Corps soldier who was deputed for the community's security. The other victims are shopkeepers, businessmen, workers and local residents.

On Twitter, Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan condemned the attack and ordered a full investigation.

Deputy Inspector General Abdul Razzaq Cheema said that it was not yet clear whether it was timed or remote-controlled. However, he believes the Hazaras were the target.

The latter, who are originally from Afghanistan, predominantly Shia with Mongol physical features, have been attacked before by Sunni extremists.

A report released last year by Pakistan’s National Commission for Human Rights (NCHR) noted that 509 members of Hazara community were killed and 627 injured in various acts of terrorism in Quetta from January 2012 to Dec 2017.

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