Bombings kill 115 in day of blood for Pakistan

A SPATE of bombings across ­Pakistan killed 115 people yesterday, including 81 who died in a sectarian attack on a billiard hall in the south-west city of Quetta, officials said.

It was one of the bloodiest days in recent years in Pakistan, where the Islamabad government faces a bloody insurgency by Taleban militants in the north-west and Baluch militants in the south-west.

Tensions have been heightened by American drone attacks on enemy targets in tribal areas on the border with Afghanistan.

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A US missile strike yesterday killed five suspected militants in the seventh such attack in two weeks, Pakistani intelligence officials said.

The billiard hall in Quetta, the capital of Baluchistan province, was hit by twin blasts about ten minutes apart, said senior police officer Hamid Shakeel.

The hall was located in an area dominated by Shiite Muslims, and most of the victims were from the minority sect, said police officer Mohammed Murtaza.

Many people who rushed to the scene after the first blast were hit by the second bomb, which caused the roof of the building to collapse, he said.

Police officers, journalists and rescue workers who responded to the initial explosion were also among the dead, police said.

The sectarian militant group Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, which is mainly Punjabi, claimed responsibility for the attack, local journalists reported.

One of the group’s spokesmen, Bakar Saddiq, said the first attack was carried out by a suicide bomber and the second was a bomb planted in a car and detonated by remote control.

Radical Sunnis groups often target Pakistan’s Shiite minority, whom they believe hold heretical views and are not true ­Muslims.