A suicide bomber targeted a hospital in Baluchistan, Pakistan August 8, killing 70 and injuring dozens more. According to the Associated Press (AP), almost 100 lawyers and journalists went there to support fellow lawyer Bilal Anwar Kasi, an activist, fatally shot earlier that morning. He was the head of the Baluchistan Bar Association. The two attacks seem to be related, although no official statement will be made until an investigation is completed.
US Ambassador to Pakistan, David Hale, said in a statement, “This brutal and senseless attack on civilians, so many of them lawyers working to bring justice to their country, will not undermine one of the most important pillars of Pakistan’s democracy and civil society,”
Multiple Groups Take Credit
Two terrorist groups took credit for the explosion; Pakistan’s Taliban (Tehreeki Taliban Pakistan or TTP) and the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL). ISIL made a statement through its news agency, “A martyr from the Islamic State (of Iraq and the Levant) detonated his explosive belt at a gathering of justice ministry employees and Pakistani policemen in the city of Quetta.”
Reuters reported that this attack “was the deadliest since an Easter Day bombing” in Lahore that killed 72.
Attacks like these are becoming more common in the region as well as Europe as lone attackers target soft targets with maximum civilian casualties. France and Belgium have had several in the past few months, as well as Turkey. Whether these attacks are coordinated with terror groups or credit is being taken for independent acts is a question that security experts are puzzling over.