4 killed, several injured in Pakistan hotel blast
Explosion shakes parking lot of 5-star hotel in Quetta city
At least three people were killed and over a dozen injured Wednesday in a blast in the parking lot of a five-star hotel in southwestern Pakistan, police said.
The blast in Quetta city also destroyed several vehicles with broken glass and pieces of metal seen strewn at the site, footage aired on local broadcaster Dawn News showed.
Plumes of fire and smoke billowed into air as fire fighters struggled to extinguish the blaze. Rescue workers were seen placing the injured and lifeless bodies on stretchers and shifting them to ambulances.
Confirming the death toll, Quetta police chief Azhar Akram told reporters that no foreign dignitaries were lodged in at the hotel.
However, Interior Minister Sheikh Rasheed Ahmed said the Chinese ambassador to Pakistan was lodged in at the hotel, but not present there at the time of the blast. The ambassador is safe, Rasheed told reporters
There was no claim of responsibility for the attack, though Taliban militants and Baloch separatists have long been active in the region, which is a key route of the multi-billion dollar China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) project, part of the ambitious Belt and Road Initiative.
Police are investigating the nature of the blast. Initial reports suggest that the explosive material was planted in a parked vehicle.
Health officials fear a rise in casualties as the condition of several injured was stated to be critical.
Over the course of the last decade, the Balochistan province -- especially its capital Quetta -- has faced a deadly wave of violence in which over 2,200 people have been killed, according to the local media.