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Blast rocks Quetta’s Serena Hotel, TTP claims responsibility

There were reports of a possible presence of a high-level Chinese delegation, which included the Chinese Ambassador to Pakistan, at Serena Hotel when the blast occurred.

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A four-star hotel in Balochistan’s capital Quetta was rocked by a blast late on Wednesday night. While the nature of the blast is yet to be ascertained by the security forces, the militant group Tehreek e Taliban Pakistan claimed responsibility for what looked like a terrorist attack.

At least four people have been killed and a dozen injured in the attack that rocked the parking area of Serena Hotel. Deputy Commissioner of Quetta, Aurangzeb Badini in a Twitter post confirmed that the blast was “reportedly a VBIED+SB blast in which 12 people got injured and 04 have succumbed to their wounds”. While providing details of the injured, he revealed that “two Assistant Commissioners are also among the injured”.

In a related tweet the deputy commissioner requested the people to refrain from circulating any rumors as it was still a developing situation. He said, “Casualties have been shifted to hospital. Situation is under control; people are requested to avoid rumors and don’t create panic. Will update shortly.”

Read more: Pakistan Foreign Office hits hard on Indian support to terrorism

Chief Minister of Balochistan, Jam Kamal Khan, strongly condemned the blast through a Twitter post.

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Federal Minister for Information and Broadcasting, Fawad Chaudhry said, “Federal Interior Ministry is in close contact with the Government of Balochistan and currently initial investigation is taking place, once the nature of the blast and losses are ascertained, government will issue a statement.”

Intended Target: Chinese Delegation?

There were reports of a possible presence of a high-level Chinese delegation, which included the Chinese Ambassador to Pakistan, Nong Rong, at Serena Hotel when the blast occurred. The ambassador was staying at the hotel for his official engagements related to China-Pakistan Economic Corridor in the city.

Federal Interior Minister, Sheikh Rasheed said, “A Chinese delegation of around four people led by the ambassador was lodging in the hotel but the ambassador was out for a meeting when the explosion took place.”

Sources in the Chinese Embassy have also confirmed that the ambassador along with his delegation are safe and were not present at the hotel when the blast occurred. “They had gone out for dinner”, according to Tahir Khan, a journalist based in Islamabad.

Salman Masood, Pakistan Correspondent for The New York Times, closely covered the incident. In a Twitter post he wondered how a security breach at one of the most secure resorts in Quetta was possible. “Serena Hotel in Quetta is considered very secure. Local and international guests routinely stay there during the visit to the city. But the explosion Wednesday — even though in the parking lot — is still quite a security breach,” he said.

Read more: 5 Martyred & 32 Injured in Violent Blast at Quetta’s Bacha Khan Chowk

While commenting on the reports of Pakistani Taliban claiming responsibility of the attack, he said, “They say they targeted locals and foreigners at Serena. The TTP statement doesn’t mention any nationalities of the targets.”

 

 

 

 

 

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