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Monday, June 12, 2006

Tea stall bomb blast kills five in Pakistan

A bomb ripped through a roadside tea stall in south-western Pakistan today, killing five people and wounding 17.

The explosion occurred in a busy street in the Saryab Road neighbourhood of Quetta, the capital of south-western Baluchistan province, said city police official Qazi Abdul Wahid. The bomb was hidden in a black plastic shopping bag at the small tea shop, he said.

The death toll increased from four to five after a 10-year-old boy who was wounded in the explosion died at a Quetta hospital, he said.

A woman, who was at a grocery shop next to the tea shop, was among the dead, according to the police official.

No one has claimed responsibility for the explosion and Wahid said it was too early to blame anyone.

However, recent violence in the region has been widely linked to ethnic-Baluch tribesmen.

Renegade tribesmen have been suspected in small-scale bombings and rocket attacks on security forces, gas fields and gas pipelines in Baluchistan as part of a campaign to press for increases in royalties for resources extracted in their territory.

Today’s bombing came a day after security forces shot dead five tribal assailants in a gun battle after a military post came under attack near Sangsila, a tribal village south-east of Quetta.

Three people who were wounded in the explosion were listed in serious condition, Wahid said, adding that the explosion destroyed the tea stall and three nearby shops.

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