Bomb Blast Kills 15 in Southwestern Pakistan

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A powerful blast targeting a military vehicle on Saturday night killed at least 15 people and wounded 32 others in Pakistan's southwestern province of Balochistan, which borders Iran and Afghanistan, officials said.

The blast occurred at a bus stop in Quetta, the capital of Balochistan province, and the area caught fire soon after the explosion.

A military statement said the bomb also wounded 25 people, including 15 civilians.

"Incendiary explosive was used".

Balochistan Home Minister Sarfaraz Bugti refused to give any information about the nature of the blast saying "rescue operations are our priority".

The casualties have been shifted to the city's hospitals where a state of emergency has already been declared.

Many bodies were burned beyond recognition, he said.

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Security forces have cordoned off the blast site for investigations.

Eyewitnesses said the blast was so intense that it shattered window panes of nearby buildings.

The blast took place near Mehdi Hospital at Pishin Stop. A large contingent of security forces also reached the spot.

Army chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa condemned the terrorist attack on the army truck in Quetta which he called "an attempt to mar Independence Day festivity" in the country.

In August a year ago, at least 74 people were killed in a suicide attack on the city's Civil Hospital, while another 60 were killed in an attack on a police academy two months later. "Our resolve won't succumb to any challenge", DG ISPR Major-General Asif Ghafoor posted on Twitter.

He offered condolences to the families of the victims.

Deposed prime minister Nawaz Sharif, who led a massive rally into Lahore after travelling from Islamabad for three days, also denounced the Quetta blast in his speech to a huge crowd.

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