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Two killed in Pakistan mosque bomb blast: officials

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Security officials examine the blast site at a mosque in the town of Kuchlak in southwest Quetta district on August 16, 2019. – At least two people were killed and more than two dozen injured after a blast at a mosque in southwestern Pakistan on August 16 during prayers, officials said. (Photo by BANARAS KHAN / AFP)

At least two people were killed and more than two dozen injured after a blast at a mosque in southwestern Pakistan during Friday prayers, officials said.

Provincial police chief Mohsin Hassan Butt said the explosion — the latest violence in a string of attacks in restive Balochistan province — was caused by a remotely detonated bomb in the town of Kuchlak.

“Two people including the prayer leader of the mosque have been killed and 25 others were wounded in an IED blast at a mosque,” he said.

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A second police official, Abdul Razzaq Cheema, confirmed the incident and casualty figures at the mosque, north of provincial capital Quetta.

There were no immediate claims of responsibility for the attack.

Balochistan, Pakistan’s largest and poorest province bordering Afghanistan and Iran, is rife with Islamist, separatist and sectarian insurgencies, even as incidents of violence have significantly dropped elsewhere in Pakistan.

Militants still retain the ability to carry out attacks, including on major urban centres and tightly-guarded targets, and analysts have long warned that Pakistan is yet to tackle the root causes of extremism.

Balochistan is key to the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), part of Beijing’s Belt and Road initiative.

CPEC seeks to connect China’s western province of Xinjiang with the Pakistani port of Gwadar, giving Beijing access to the Arabian Sea.

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