Bomb explosion at pro-Palestinian rally in Pakistan kills 6, injures 14

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The photo shows a damaged vehicle at the site of a bomb attack during a pro-Palestinian rally in Chaman, Pakistan’s Balochistan province, May 21, 2021 (AFP photo)

Quetta-Bomb explosion at pro-Palestinian rally in Pakistan’s southwest province of Balochistan killed at least six and injured 14 others.

The deadly explosion occurred in Chaman, a town near the border with Afghanistan on Friday, as people gathered to express support for the Palestinians in the wake of Israeli violence and the shelling of the besieged Gaza Strip .

“It was an improvised explosive device that exploded as the participants began to disperse,” said provincial official Tariq Mengal, referring to the bomb used in the attack.

A second official also confirmed the incident and the results.

Thousands of people gathered in support of Palestinians across Pakistan on Friday, hours after the announcement of a ceasefire between Israel and the Palestinian resistance movement Hamas, which ended 11 days relentless airstrikes and bombardments by the Israeli regime; and retaliatory attacks by Palestinian resistance groups.

The demonstration in Chaman was organized by the Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam party. Local news networks, citing police, reported that the bomb was aimed at the car of party vice president Maulana Abdul Qadir Loni, but he was neither killed nor injured in the explosion.

The latest development comes just weeks after a car bomb exploded in a luxury hotel where the Chinese ambassador to the country is said to have stayed in Quetta, the capital of Balochistan province. This attack was later claimed by the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan group, which has links to al-Qaeda.

Shaman has long served as a gateway for Afghan Taliban militants entering Afghanistan from their purported shelters in Balochistan, where the group’s board of directors is said to be based.

Pakistan’s restless, mineral-rich province of Balochistan is plagued by separatist, extremist and sectarian violence and has been the scene of several bomb and gun attacks in recent years.

Balochistan was rocked by a series of terrorist attacks at the end of 2016, raising fears of a growing presence of armed militants in the region, in particular terrorists linked to the terrorist group Takfiri Daesh.

Baloch separatist groups and activists in the province are also engaged in a decades-long campaign against the central government. Despite frequent offensives by the Pakistani army, terrorist acts of terror continue to target the security forces as well as civilians.

Thousands of Pakistanis have lost their lives in bombings and other militant attacks since 2001, when Pakistan entered into an alliance with the United States in Washington’s so-called war on terror. Thousands more have been displaced by the wave of violence sweeping the country.

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