QUETTA, Pakistan (Reuters) - A bomb exploded beside a bus on the outskirts of Pakistan’s southwestern city of Quetta on Thursday, killing at least 10 people in a suspected sectarian attack, police officials said.
At least 30 people were wounded in the bombing. Police and hospital officials in Quetta, capital of the Baluchistan province, said the death toll could rise.
“The bus was bringing Shi‘ite pilgrims back from Iran when a bomb exploded next to it,” police official Hamid Shakeel said.
Several militant groups are active in Baluchistan, Pakistan’s biggest but poorest province.
Sunni Muslim militants loyal to al Qaeda and the Taliban have carried out high-profile attacks on members of Pakistan’s Shi‘ite minority in the past.
In recent months, they have stepped up attacks on Shi‘ites in Baluchistan, which borders Afghanistan and Iran.
Much of the violence in Baluchistan has been blamed on ethnic Baluch separatists, who are fighting a protracted insurgency, demanding more autonomy and control over the natural resources of the province.
Reporting by Gul Yusufzai; Writing by Qasim Nauman; Editing by Rebecca Conway and Michael Roddy