ISLAMABAD - A suicide bomber struck a paramilitary convoy in southwestern Pakistan Saturday, killing at least five people and wounding around 20 others.
The bomb went off on a busy road in Quetta, capital of violence-hit Baluchistan province, causing mostly civilian casualties, said Abdul Razaq Cheema, deputy inspector general of the provincial police.
“The evidence collected from the site of the blast suggests it was a suicide blast and the bomber was waiting in a small roadside hotel before attacking the (Frontier Corps) convoy,” Cheema told reporters near the site of the violence.
He said investigators retrieved body parts of the bomber and were trying to determine his identity.
The Pakistani Taliban instantly took credit for plotting the attack, claiming it killed several security personnel. The anti-state militant group often issues inflated casualty tolls.
There has been an increase in militant violence recently in and around Quetta, killing and wounding dozens of people. Baluchistan is at the center of an economic corridor being built in Pakistan with billions of Chinese dollars.
Officials blame rival India for being behind the growth in militant attacks in the province, alleging the neighboring country wants to disrupt economic cooperation with China, charges New Delhi rejects.
Saturday's bombing came a day after a suicide bomber killed one of the most senior provincial police officers in the northwestern city of Peshawar. That attack also wounded six police personnel.
Pakistani security forces have been conducting major counter-militancy operations, particular in traditionally volatile tribal areas on the border with Afghanistan.
The militants in response plot suicide and other terrorist attacks that have killed tens of thousands of people over the past decade.
However, officials say security operations have significantly reduced the violence over the past two years.