Karachi: A brother of Afghan Taliban leader Mullah Haibatullah was among five people killed when a powerful bomb ripped through a mosque inside a seminary during Friday prayers in Pakistan’s troubled Balochistan province, Taliban sources said.
The blast which occurred at a mosque inside the Shaikh Haibatullah Madrassah in Kuchlak area, 25 kilometres from Quetta, also injured 22 others.
“Five persons were killed and 22 others injured in the attack,” Inspector General of Baluchistan Police Mohsin Hassan Butt said.
According to Taliban sources, Haibatullah’s brother Hafiz Ahmadullah was killed in the attack.
A senior Taliban source said that Ahmadullah was the imam of the mosque that came under attack during the Friday prayers.
“The head of the mosque is among five killed in the blast,” Butt said without identifying him.
The killing of the brother of Taliban leader comes at a crucial time when talks between rebels and the US have entered their final phase.
Nobody took responsibility of the attack and Pakistan officials only said that an improvised explosive device (IED) was planted inside the building.
The IED contained around eight to 10 kilograms of explosives which was planted inside the mosque, police said.
A rescue operation is under way and security forces have also cordoned off the area.
Kuchlak is known to have a large population of Afghan refugees.
Police said the injured have been shifted to nearby hospitals for treatment, while emergency has been declared at Civil Hospital Quetta.
There was no immediate claim of responsibility, but Taliban militants and Baloch nationalist often carry out such attacks.
Television footages showed the blast caused extensive damage to the walls and ceiling of the seminary.
The blast in Kuchlak is the fourth in Balochistan in less than a month’s time.
A week before, on July 30, five persons, including two policemen, died when a powerful bomb tore through a police patrol van at a busy roundabout in Quetta.
At least 32 people – including Additional SHO Shafaat Ali – were also wounded in the attack targeting the police vehicle parked outside the City Police Station at Bacha Khan Chowk.
Last week, a planted bomb in a market on Quetta’s Meezan chowk killed a Hazara man and injured 13 others.