40 die in attacks in Pakistani city on religious holidays

People carry an injured man into a hospital in Quetta, Pakistan, on Friday after gunmen attacked a mosque.

Story highlights

  • Police tighten security after violence Thursday and Friday
  • Militants sprayed bullets at cars before Friday prayers on Eid, killing 10 people
  • The attack was followed by intense return fire that lasted for half an hour
  • A bomb at a funeral Thursday killed 30 people
A gun assault and a separate bombing have killed at least 40 people in two days in the city of Quetta in Pakistan. Both attacks seemed to target local officials.
Militants sprayed bullets into cars near a mosque Friday in the capital of the province of Balochistan, killing 10 people on the Muslim holy day of Eid, police said.
At least 30 others were wounded in the attack before prayers.
On Thursday, a suicide bombing tore through the funeral of a police official in Quetta, killing 30 people and wounding at least 40 others.
In Friday's attack, a former provincial lawmaker was stepping into the mosque when about a dozen men opened fire, said police spokesman Mir Zubair Mehmood. Half of those killed where the politician's bodyguards.
The others were civilians.
The assault drew intense return fire, which lasted for half an hour, a witness said. The battle sent people rushing for cover into the mosque, said Muhammad Ejaz, who was there to pray.
Police have arrested eight suspects who had explosives and weapons. "We have launched search operations in different parts of the city," Mehmood said. They have also tightened security after the two attacks.
There has been no claim of responsibility in either Thursday's or Friday's attack.
Elsewhere in Balochistan, militants stopped a bus Tuesday, kidnapped 13 people and took them to nearby mountains, where they shot them to death.
Many possible assailants
The area around Quetta is plagued by strife. It is close to the border with Afghanistan, and members of the Taliban often cross into Pakistan.
Local militants in the province, which is rich in natural gas, have been fighting Pakistani national military forces for self-rule.
For years, the Balochistan Liberation Army has complained that the government pays little attention to people and their economic needs.
During national elections this year, the province saw violent attacks on polling places. Bombers struck voters who had just cast their ballots as well as candidates and their supporters.
The Pakistani Taliban, or Tehrik-i-Taliban, are also believed to foment unrest in the province in the country's southwest.
Sectarian attacks on ethic Shiite Muslims by fundamentalist Sunni Muslims are also common.