Islamic State claims Pakistan attack that killed 20 people

Mourners of the Shia Hazara ethnic minority gather on a street during a protest in Quetta on April 13, 2019, the day after a suicide blast in a crowded fruit market. – At least 20 people were killed and 48 wounded on April 12 by a powerful suicide blast apparently targeting the Shia Hazara ethnic minority at a crowded fruit market in Pakistan’s Quetta city, officials said. (Photo by BANARAS KHAN / AFP)

The Islamic State militant group has claimed responsibility for a suicide attack in south-western Pakistan that left 20 people dead and dozens injured.

The militant group made the claim in a statement shared with the media on Saturday.

It also shared the name and photograph of the alleged bomber.

On Friday, a suicide bomber blew himself up in a fruit market run and frequented by the minority Shiite religious community in the city of Quetta.

Nearly 50 people were wounded in the attack, which targeted the marginalised Hazara community.

Members of the community, including women and children, have been staging a sit-in in Quetta demanding better security for their people since yesterday, local media reported.

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Prime Minister Imran Khan condemned the attack and asked authorities for “increased security for the people.’’

Quetta is the capital of Balochistan, Pakistan’s largest but most volatile province, which borders Afghanistan and Iran and is often targeted by both Islamist militants and sub-nationalist rebels.

In Quetta, the Hazara community is confined to two fortified neighbourhoods and has frequently been targeted in the past years.

Violence has declined significantly in Pakistan in recent years, after the country’s army pushed back Islamist militants in a series of offensives near the Afghan border.

However, militants are still capable of launching random attacks.

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