40 people killed in bomb, gun attacks in 3 Pakistani cities

PESHAWAR, Pakistan (AP) — At least 40 people were killed and nearly 100 wounded Friday in four separate bomb and gun attacks in three major Pakistani cities, officials said.

A suicide bomber was involved in the first car bombing near the office of the provincial police chief in the southwestern city of Quetta that killed at least 12 people and wounded 20. There were conflicting claims of responsibility for this attack from different extremist groups.

Hours later twin bombings, minutes apart, hit a crowded market in a Shiite-dominated city in Parachinar, the main city in the Kurram tribal region and killed 24 people, mostly minority Shiite Muslims, according to government administrator Zahid Hussain.

Friday evening, gunmen in the port city of Karachi attacked police officers at a roadside restaurant and killed four of them before fleeing, senior police officer Asif Ahmed said.

Security forces raided a militant hideout in the northwestern city of Peshawar before dawn Saturday, triggering a shootout in which three Pakistani Talban were killed, senior police official Sajjad Khan said. He said two police officers were wounded in the gunbattle.

Khan said the identity of the slain militants was not immediately known.

The bomb and gun attacks come a few days before the Muslim holiday of Eid-al-Fitr, which ends the holy month of Ramadan. TV footage showed panicked people rushing to safety following the Parachinar market bombings.

Mohammad Amir, an official at a government-run hospital in Parachinar, said they had received 24 dead bodies and more than 20 of the wounded were listed in critical condition.

Hussain said a severed head of a man was found near the scene of blasts, indicating the second attack in Parachinar might have been carried out by a suicide bomber but officers are still investigating to determine the exact nature of bombings.

According to Pakistan’s military, it was using two helicopters to transport wounded people to other cities.

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