At least one police officer and two civilians were killed and dozens injured when a suicide bomber attacked a police vehicle in the southwestern Pakistani city of Quetta, police said. The Pakistani armed group Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), also known as the Pakistani Taliban, claimed responsibility for Wednesday’s attacks, two days after announcing the end of a ceasefire agreed upon with the government in June. made a statement. Quetta Police Station Deputy Inspector General (DIG) Ghulam Azfar Mahesar told reporters that the targeted vehicle had a police officer in it to protect workers in a polio vaccination campaign in the capital of Pakistan’s Balochistan province. He said a manned security guard was in place.
Mahesar said at least 24 people were injured in the incident in the Buleli district, of which he said 20 were police officers. He added that the attack also damaged two other vehicles. Javed Akhtar, an official at the government hospital in Quetta, told Al Jazeera that a four-year-old girl and a woman were among the civilian victims. Prime Minister Shebaz Sharif condemned the blast and expressed sadness over the deaths of civilians and police. “Polio workers are working to end the disease without fearing for their lives. Complete eradication of polio is one of the government’s top priorities,” he said. said. Germany’s Interior Minister Rana Sanaura also issued a statement condemning the attack and calling for a detailed investigation into the incident. “This attack was carried out after the end of the ceasefire was announced and was intended to avenge the death of Omar Khalid Khorasani. Our attacks will continue,” he said.
The attacks came amid a surge in polio cases in Pakistan, the only country other than Afghanistan where the debilitating neurodegenerative disease remains endemic. Pakistan reported 20 new polio cases this year, all in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province. Quetta’s attack also came when his England cricket team traveled to Pakistan to play his first Test series in 17 years. The first match of the three-test series begins on Thursday in Rawalpindi.