Explosion at the parking area of Serena hotel in Quetta city leaves at least five people dead and a dozen others wounded, officials say. Terror group Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan claims responsibility.

Volunteers carry a wounded victim on a stretcher at the site of an explosion in Quetta on April 21, 2021.
Volunteers carry a wounded victim on a stretcher at the site of an explosion in Quetta on April 21, 2021. (AFP)

An overnight attack at a luxury hotel in Pakistan has been confirmed as a suicide car bombing and the death toll has risen to five, the country's interior minister and police said.

In a statement, the counter-terrorism department said five people were killed and about a dozen wounded in Wednesday’s attack in the parking lot of the Serena hotel, in the southwestern city of Quetta. Four deaths had been initially reported.

Pakistani Taliban quickly claimed responsibility for the suicide bombing.

The bombing took place as Chinese Ambassador Nong Rong visited Quetta city.

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TTP claims responsibility

In a statement, the Pakistani Taliban, or Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan, said it targeted a meeting of Pakistani and foreign officials. It did not elaborate. Interior Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmad said explosives weighing 60 to 70 kilograms were used in the attack. 

He said the suicide bomber was in his explosive-laden car at the time.

He said the Chinese ambassador was in Quetta at the time of the attack, but was not inside the hotel and that he was safe.

In Beijing, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin said China “strongly condemns” the attack and extended sympathies to the victims, but said the investigation was in the hands of the Pakistani authorities.

He said that no Chinese citizens were injured in the bombing. He offered no indication whether China’s representatives might have been specifically targeted in the attack. “We believe the Pakistani side will be able to find out the truth and bring the perpetrators to justice as soon as possible,” Wang said at a daily briefing on Thursday.

In Islamabad, Prime Minister Imran Khan described the bombing as “a cowardly terrorist attack.” In a tweet, Khan said his nation had “made great sacrifices in defeating terrorism & we will not to allow this scourge to rise again."

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Restive province 

Southwestern Balochistan province is the scene of a long-running insurgency by secessionist groups like the Balochistan Liberation Front and the Balochistan Liberation Army. 

They have for decades staged attacks to press their demands for independence. 

The Pakistani Taliban and Daesh group also have a presence there.

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Source: TRTWorld and agencies