QUETTA, Pakistan (AP) — A powerful bomb exploded in the parking area of a luxury hotel in the southwestern Pakistani city of Quetta on Wednesday, killing at least four people and wounding at least nine others, police said.
Security forces rushed to the Serena hotel and no one was being allowed to go near the site of the blast. Police said rescuers transported victims to nearby hospitals. Footage on Pakistan news channels showed burning cars.
Hours after the attack, the Pakistani Taliban in a statement claimed responsibility, saying it was a suicide attack. The Pakistani Taliban, or Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan, is a separate insurgent group from the Afghan Taliban.
Senior police official Azhar Akram said officers were trying to determine whether the bomb was planted in a vehicle that was parked in the hotel’s parking lot. He provided no further details, saying police were still investigating. Other security officials said the bomb exploded minutes after a car entered the parking lot, and authorities were investigating to determine whether it was a suicide attack.
Wasim Beg, a spokesperson at the provincial health department, said four people died and 12 were wounded in the bombing.
It was unclear who was behind the attack. Southwestern Baluchistan province is the scene of a long-running insurgency by secessionist groups like the Baluchistan Liberation Front and the Baluchistan Liberation Army. They have for decades staged attacks to press their demands for independence. The Pakistani Taliban and Islamic State group also have a presence there.