A suicide bomber attacked a hospital emergency room where Shiite Muslims had gathered on Friday to mourn a slain bank manager, killing at least four people in Pakistan's main southwest city, police said.
The explosion in Quetta underscored the poor security conditions in Pakistan, a US ally where sectarian violence remains a problem even as Al-Qaida and Taliban militants pose a growing and linked threat. It wasn't the first time that Shiite mourners have been attacked at hospitals in Pakistan, evidence of a tactic in vogue for their Sunni extremist foes.
Gunshots rang out after the explosion at the Civil Hospital, and rescuers carried away the dead and wounded, TV footage showed. The Shiite bank manager was shot dead on Friday morning. The man's friends and relatives were at the emergency room when the suicide bomber detonated his weapons at its gate, police official Mohammad Sabir said.
Quetta is the capital of Baluchistan province, and it is believed to be a major center for the leadership of the Afghan Taliban. However, the violence that occurs in Baluchistan has been blamed on Baluch separatist groups or tensions between Sunni and Shiite Muslims.
In February, suspected Sunni militants bombed a bus carrying Shiite worshippers and two hours later attacked a hospital treating the victims, killing 25 people and wounding 100 in the southern Pakistani city of Karachi.