Accidents, World November 24, 2018

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Suicide bomber strikes Pakistan market hours after foiled assault on Chinese consulate in Karachi

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A suicide bomber killed at least 30 people at a market in northern Pakistan on Friday, just hours after gunmen assaulted the Chinese consulate in the southern city of Karachi, killing four.

Ariana News Agency- The two attacks on opposite sides of the country were likely unconnected, but they underlined the myriad security challenges Pakistan faces, including those from separatists and the Pakistani Taliban based in the northern border regions.

The attacker in the northern Orakzai district drove a motorcycle into the heart of a weekly market in the town of Kalaya and detonated his explosives, according to Reuters. Local health officials said at least 30 people were killed in the blast and that more than 50 others were injured, 30 of them seriously. Authorities said most of the victims were minority Shiite Muslims.

Pakistani authorities have long battled militants in these remote regions near the Afghan border. The region also has been marked by tension between Sunni and Shiite Muslims, and the blast was near a Shiite mosque that may have been a target.

Video images from the scene showed volunteers and rescue officials recovering bodies from the weekly Friday market, where people had been buying vegetables, household items and warm clothes when the blast took place.

“There was a big bang that rocked the whole town. Nothing was clear in the smoke, and there were cries and screams from the market,” said Ashraf Ullah, 42, a local merchant. “Many bodies were unrecognizable from damage by the blast. There were dead bodies all around.”


The Blast Came after the Foiled Morning Assault. 


The blast came hours after police in Karachi foiled a morning assault by three gunmen against the Chinese consulate. The attack left two police officers, two civilians and the gunmen dead.

The assault took place at about 9 a.m., when the gunmen tried to enter the consulate, located in the city’s upscale Clifton area, but were stopped by police and security guards at the checkpoint, local police officials said.

In addition to the exchange of gunfire, witnesses told Pakistan’s Dawn News channel that they heard an explosion. Footage broadcast on TV showed smoke rising from the Chinese consulate building.

“Three attackers have been killed in the exchange of fire with our forces. All the Chinese diplomats and other staff at the consulate are safe, and they remained unharmed during the attack,” Amir Shaikh, a senior police official, told journalists on the scene. Because of the quick response of police and guards, the terrorists could not reach the diplomats, he said. He added that a search was underway to determine whether anyone else was involved.

According to Pakistani news channels, a separatist group, the Baluch Liberation Army (BLA), claimed responsibility for the attack. The group opposes China’s projects in the province and has previously attacked Chinese workers in Baluchistan, a Pakistani province at the center of the megaproject China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).

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