Mosque bombing in southwest Pakistan kills 5

Members of a bomb disposal unit survey the site after a blast at a mosque in Kuchlak, in the outskirts of Quetta, Pakistan August 16, 2019. REUTERS/Stringer

A powerful bomb ripped through a mosque during Friday prayers in Pakistan's troubled Balochistan province, killing at least five persons and injuring 24 others, police said.

The blast occurred at the mosque in Kuchlak area, 25 kilometres from Quetta, on Friday.

"Five persons were killed and 24 others injured in the attack," Inspector General of Baluchistan Police Mohsin Hassan Butt said.

The blast was carried out with an improvised explosive device (IED) that contained around eight to 10 kilograms of explosives which was planted inside the mosque, he said.

"The head of the mosque is among five killed in the blast," he said.

A rescue operation is under way and security forces have also cordoned off the area.

Police said the injured have been shifted to nearby hospitals for treatment, while emergency has been declared at Civil Hospital Quetta.

Police have cordoned off the area and a bomb disposal squad has been requested.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility, but Taliban militants and Baloch nationalist often carry out such attacks.

Television footages showed the blast caused extensive damage to the walls and ceiling of the seminary.

The blast in Kuchlak is the fourth in Balochistan in less than a month's time.

A week before, on July 30, five persons, including two policemen, died when a powerful bomb tore through a police patrol van at a busy roundabout in Quetta.

At least 32 people – including Additional SHO Shafaat Ali – were also wounded in the attack targeting the police vehicle parked outside the City Police Station at Bacha Khan Chowk.

Last week, a planted bomb in a market on Quetta’s Meezan chowk killed a Hazara man and injured 13 others.

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