NEW: Police say the death toll from Quetta bomb explosions jumped to 93
Police say they believe a security checkpoint was the first target
Children are among the dead, officials say
A series of blasts in the city of Quetta in southwest Pakistan killed 93 people and wounded 169 Thursday, police said.
Children were among the dead, officials said.
A bomb Thursday morning in a vehicle near a security checkpoint in the center of town caused the first explosion, which wrecked a marketplace, destroyed eight security vehicles and claimed at least 12 lives, police spokesman Wazir Khan Nasir said. At least another 45 people were wounded there.
Nasir said he believed the checkpoint was the target of the attack.
Nearby, twin blasts during the evening killed at least 81 people and wounded 121, Chief Capital City Police Officer Miz Zubair Mehmood told CNN. The second of the two explosions erupted when police and reporters arrived at the scene of the first blast. A videographer for a private television network was among the dead.
Nine of the dead were security officers, Mehmood said.
“The government of Baluchistan is working on mitigating security concerns, and we will make sure to protect citizens as best we can,” Mehmood said.
A fourth blast wounded three people.
The cause of the blasts was not known, and no one had claimed responsibility for them, he said.
Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf condemned the blasts. “The prime minister, while expressing his heartfelt condolences and sympathies with the bereaved families, reiterated the government’s resolve to stamp out the menace of militancy and terrorism from the country in its all shapes and manifestations,” his office said in a statement.
“He said that such cowardly acts would not deter the government from fighting the menace of terrorism.”