Blast kills 15 on Independence Day

Blast kills 15 on Independence Day

QUETTA: A blast at a hotel on the National Highway close to Dera Allah Yar killed 15 people and injured 23 others on Sunday. A bomb that was attached to a timer ripped through a two-story hotel, reducing the building to rubble, police said. The attack also wounded 23 people, said Jaffarabad District Police Officer Javed Gharsheen. Police have taken four people into custody who had tea in the hotel’s restaurant and left just before the bomb went off, he said. Dera Allah Yar is some 350 kilometers east of the provincial capital of Quetta.

Most of the people died on the spot. The dead and injured were taken to the civil hospital, however, most of the seriously wounded were referred to Larkana and Jacobabad hospitals for better treatment. A little-known organisation, Baloch Liberation Tiger (BLT), claimed the responsibility for the devastating blast, in which unarmed civilians were made target of mass killing for the first time. Rescue workers and police were removing the rubble to find any survivors. Police said the death toll could rise as several people were believed to have trapped in the rubble.

A BLT spokesman, who introduced himself as Miran Baloch, phoned local office of a news agency and said it was a remote-controlled blast and members of his organisation had planted the bomb inside the hotel. He said his organisation will target those people who participate in the celebrations of Independence Day of Pakistan. According to eyewitness accounts, the victims were taking their mid-day meal and there was no evidence that they had participated in any function in connection with the Independence Day.

The blast destroyed the double-storey building of the hotel and reduced it to rubble. The explosion rocked the town and caused panic among its residents. Jaffarabad DPO said that the unknown miscreants had planted an explosive device inside the Bismillah Hotel, one of the three hotels on national highway in Dera Allah Yar, which was open in the holy month of Ramazan to serve food to passengers. He added that the terrorists detonated the device by remote control when people in a large number were inside the hotel. Around 12 kilogrammes of explosive was used in the blast, Gharshin said. The sources in the district administration, however, told APP that about 35 kilogrammes of explosives were used in the blast. The blast also caused damages to nearby shops and buildings.

The personnel of Frontier Corps and police rushed to the spot and sealed off the area. They started a rescue operation which lasted several hours and retrieved 15 bodies and 19 after hours’ long hectic efforts. “Teams of Bomb Disposal Squad were dispatched from Sukkur and Quetta to inspect the site,” Gharshin said.

Those killed in the blast belonged to Dera Allah Yar, Dera Murad Jamali and nearby villages, and had come to the hotel for taking midday meal. The district police said that another bid of sabotage was foiled on a tip-off, as the police and Bomb Disposal Squad recovered 10 kilogrammes of explosives near a gasfield on National Highway passing through Jaffarabad district. – Dailytimes