Suicide bomber kills 8 at Pakistan emergency room
QUETTA, Pakistan — A suicide bomber attacked a hospital emergency room where Shi’ite Muslims were mourning a slain bank manager yesterday, killing eight people, including a journalist and two policemen, in Pakistan’s main southwestern city, police said.
A suspected US missile strike, meanwhile, killed four alleged militants in the country’s northwestern tribal belt, officials said.
The explosion in Quetta underscored the poor security conditions in Pakistan, a US ally where sectarian violence remains a problem even as Al Qaeda and Taliban militants pose a growing — and linked — threat. It wasn’t the first time that Shi’ite mourners have been attacked at hospitals in Pakistan, evidence of a tactic in vogue for their Sunni extremist foes.
Gunshots rang out after the explosion at the Civil Hospital, and rescuers carried away the dead and wounded, TV footage showed.
Among the dead was a cameraman working for Pakistan’s Samaa TV, said Saifuddin Khan, a hospital official. Two policemen also died, while 35 people were wounded in the apparent “sectarian attack,’’ said Qazi Abdul Wahid, a senior police investigator.
Journalists were at the hospital covering the aftermath of yesterday’s shooting of the bank manager, who came from a prominent Shi’ite family. A gunman shot him as he stepped out of his car outside the bank on a major city road, officials said.
The emergency room was full of his friends and relatives when the bomber struck at the gate, police official Mohammad Sabir said.
Quetta is believed to be a major center for the leadership of the Afghan Taliban.