• 13 injured in SW Pakistan bomb blast

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    QUETTA, Pakistan: A roadside bomb apparently targeting a judge injured at least 13 people in Pakistan’s southwestern city of Quetta on Thursday, officials said, days after a major attack killed most of the city’s senior lawyers.

    “The bomb was planted on a bridge in the city, which went off immediately after the vehicle of an Islamic court judge passed by it,” Akbar Harifal, the home secretary of southwestern Balochistan province, told Agence France-Presse.

    The judge, Zahoor Shehwani, survived, he added, but the blast hit his security escort vehicle, injuring four police personnel and nine passers-by.

    Hamid Shakeel, a senior local police official, confirmed the attack and the casualties.

    No group immediately claimed responsibility for the attack, which came three days after a devastating suicide bombing at a Quetta hospital killed at least 73 people, many of them senior lawyers.

    Analysts said Monday’s attack had left a vacuum in the close-knit legal community which is seen as a crucial force for justice in the country’s most dangerous province.

    Mineral-rich but desperately poor Balochistan is plagued by roiling insurgencies, hit by regular militant attacks, and run by political leaders who are widely seen as corrupt.

    It is also the site of China’s ambitious $46 billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor infrastructure project linking its western province of Xinjiang to the Arabian Sea via Pakistan.

    Monday’s attack was claimed by both the Jamaat-ul-Ahrar (JuA) faction of the Pakistani Taliban, and the Islamic State group, with analysts unclear on whose claim was more credible.

    AFP

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