Pakistani bombing kills 25, deputy leader wounded

QUETTA, Pakistan (AP) — The deputy leader of Pakistan’s Senate escaped an assassination attempt on Friday when a suicide bomber targeted his convoy in the country’s southwestern Baluchistan province, killing 25 people and wounding dozens more, government officials said.

The Islamic State took responsibility for the attack on its official Amaq News Agency.

The bomber struck soon after Abdul Ghafoor Haideri’s convoy left a madrassa, an Islamic religious school, in the town of Mastung, not far from the provincial capital of Quetta, according to local government official, Munir Raisani.

The area has been a hotbed of militant activity in the past, although most of the previous attacks near Mastung have been on Pakistan’s minority Shiite Muslims by the violent radical Sunni group Lashkar-e-Jhangvi.

However, IS last year carried out a brutal attack against lawyers in Quetta killing nearly 70 people, most of them young lawyers as well as at a shrine in the remote Kuzdar area. There, more than 60 people were killed.

Friday’s attack underscored the militants’ continued ability to carry out high-profile attacks despite a protracted military crackdown that’s underway in several parts of the country, including Pakistan’s border regions with neighboring Afghanistan.