QUETTA, Pakistan (AP) — A suicide bomber struck a vehicle carrying a deputy inspector general of police in the southwestern city of Quetta on Thursday, killing him and three other officers, Pakistani officials said. The Taliban claimed responsibility.
Nine people, including police officers, were also wounded in the attack that targeted Hamid Shakil, who had played a key role in arresting militants and members of small separatist groups in recent years, said police officer Naseeb Ullah.
He said the attack took place when Shakil's convoy passed through a residential area. Hours after the attack, the Pakistani Taliban, known as Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan, claimed responsibility.
In a statement, police said the attacker used 15 kilograms (33 pounds) of explosive material. TV footage showed badly destroyed police vehicles and rescuers transporting victims to hospitals.
Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi in a statement praised the slain officers for sacrificing their lives and said such cowardly attacks could not weaken the morale of security forces in the fight against terrorism.
Quetta is the capital of Baluchistan province, which has been the scene of a low-level insurgency by Baluch separatist groups. Islamic militants also operate in the region.
Also on Thursday, the military in a statement that a group of militants from neighboring Afghanistan attacked one of the army's newly built border posts, triggering a shootout in which one soldier and five militants were killed. The incident took place in the Khyber tribal region.