QUETTA, Pakistan — A series of bombings killed 115 people across Pakistan on Thursday, including 81 who died in twin blasts on a bustling billiards hall in a Shiite area of the southwestern city of Quetta.
Pakistan's minority Shiite Muslims have increasingly been targeted by radical Sunnis who consider them heretics, and a militant Sunni group claimed responsibility for Thursday's deadliest attack — sending a suicide bomber into the packed pool hall and then detonating a car bomb five minutes later.
It was one of the deadliest days in recent years for a country that is no stranger to violence from radical Islamists, militant separatists and criminal gangs.
Violence has been especially intense in southwest Baluchistan province, where Quetta is the capital and the country's largest concentration of Shiites live.
The billiards hall targeted Thursday was located in an area dominated by the minority sect. In addition to the 81 dead, more than 120 people were wounded in the double bombing, said police officer Zubair Mehmood. The dead included police officers, journalists and rescue workers who responded to the initial explosion.
Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, a Sunni militant group with strong ties to the Pakistani Taliban, claimed responsibility for the attack. Hazara Shiites, who migrated from Afghanistan more than a century ago, have been the targets of dozens of attacks by Lashkar-e-Jhangvi in Quetta over the past year, but Thursday's was by far the bloodiest.
Human Rights Watch sharply criticized the Pakistani government for not doing enough to crack down on the killings. It said more than 400 Shiites were killed in targeted attacks in Pakistan in 2012.
- 50 things you might not know about 15 of your...
- Expelling Santa from school? Holiday...
- TV Review: Broadway wins in live 'Sound of...
- Utahns react to death of Nelson Mandela
- 'Sound of Music' alive for 18.5 million viewers
- Obama administration will allow green energy...
- Former South African President Nelson Mandela...
- Court: Mormon church, members not liable in...
- Obama: Income inequality a defining... 105
- Court: Mormon church, members not... 34
- Notre Dame sues over health care law's... 31
- Fast-food strikes return amid push for... 30
- Colorado court hears discrimination... 28
- Fast food outlets planning strike for... 25
- Research: Native American genes have... 23
- Utahns react to death of Nelson Mandela 23