Time: 11:38 a.m. CEST Update: 11:03 p.m. CEST
The death toll increased after the bomb attack in Quetta. The explosion has killed at least 70 people at a hospital in Quetta in south-west Pakistan.
At the entrance of the emergency department the blast injured about 120 others. A prominent lawyer’s body was brought to the emergency department. The casualties included lawyers and journalists accompanying the body of Bilal Anwar Kasi. A faction of the Pakistani Taliban has said it was behind the bombing, BBC News reported. Jamaat-ul-Ahrar claimed the earlier attack on Kasi, who was shot from his home to the main court complex in Quetta.
Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and chief of army staff Gen Raheel Sharif have both gone to Quetta and held talks with security officials. The Pakistan Bar Council has announced a nationwide strike by lawyers on Tuesday.
The White House reacted with a statement after the attack and condemned the horrific suicide attack. “That this attack occurred at a hospital and appeared to target a gathering of lawyers mourning the death of a respected colleague makes it all the more heinous. Our hearts go out to the families and other loved ones of the more than 60 killed, and we wish a speedy recovery to the dozens more injured,” the statement by the press secretary Josh Earnest said.
As CNN reported, the blast took place at 9:30 a.m. local time (12.30 a.m. ET), Monday in Quetta. The explosion rocked the emergency ward of the civil hospital, Sarfaraz Bugti, Home Minister of Balochistan, told CNN. Those killed in the hospital attack were said to include Baz Muhammad Kakar, a predecessor of Mr Kasi as provincial bar president, and 17 other lawyers. Two journalists have also been identified among the dead – Shahzad Khan, a cameraman for Aaj TV, and Mehmood Khan, a cameraman for DawnNews.
Lawyers in Lahore staged a demonstration to condemn the attack. Some journalists also protested, demanding protection for freedom of expression. Facebook has activated its safety check feature for Quetta, allowing users to mark themselves or others as being safe.