Twin Suicide Bomb Blasts Kill 24 in Pakistan

Posted September 7th, 2011 at 1:36 pm (UTC-5)
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The Pakistani Taliban says it carried out a pair of suicide bombings Wednesday that killed 24 people in southwestern city of Quetta, in retaliation for the recent arrest of an al-Qaida leader.

Two suicide bombers attacked the home of the deputy head of Baluchistan province's paramilitary Frontier Corps. Police say the first attacker detonated his vehicle outside Brigadier Farrukh Shehzad's residence, while a second bomber stormed the house on foot and detonated his explosives.

Shehzad was wounded and his wife was killed in the attack. Several of his security guards and at least two children were also among the dead. More than 80 other people were injured in the two blasts.

Pakistani Taliban spokesman Ehsanullah Ehsan told news agencies the militant group carried out the attack “in revenge for the arrests of our brothers in Quetta.”

On Monday, Pakistan's military announced that the Frontier Corps had helped arrest senior al-Qaida leader Younis al-Mauritani and two other al-Qaida operatives in Quetta, the capital of Baluchistan province.

Mauritani was believed to have been tasked by al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden with targeting economic interests in the United States, Europe and Australia.

Pakistan's military did not say when the arrests were made but said the operation was “planned and conducted with technical assistance of U.S. intelligence agencies.”

The White House on Monday praised the operation as an example of the longstanding partnership between the U.S. and Pakistan in fighting terrorism.

Pakistani police said that one of the suicide bombers who carried out Wednesday's attack was carrying an identity card indicating he was from Afghanistan's Kunduz province.

Police say more than 50 kilograms of explosives were used in the blasts, which damaged several nearby buildings and vehicles.

The U.S. Embassy in Islamabad strongly condemned the attacks in Quetta, calling them “horrific.” An embassy spokesperson said nothing can justify immoral and indiscriminate attacks against innocents, including Pakistani security forces.