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Pakistan hospital bomb attack kills dozens in Quetta

A bomb blast has killed 53 people at a hospital in the city of Quetta in south-west Pakistan, officials say.

Dozens of people were injured in the attack, which happened at the entrance to the emergency department where the body of a prominent lawyer shot dead earlier on Monday was being brought.

The casualties included lawyers and journalists accompanying the body of Bilal Anwar Kasi.

Gunfire followed the explosion. It was not clear who the attackers were.

Pakistani police have said they suspect the bomb was detonated by a suicide attacker.

Mr Kasi, who was president of the Balochistan Bar Association, had been shot while on his way to the main court complex in Quetta, local news outlet Geo TV reported.

Survivors embrace after Quetta hospital blast
The attack took place at the entrance to the hospital’s emergency department

Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif condemned the attacks. “No-one will be allowed to disturb the peace of the province,” he said.

“The people, policy and security forces in Balochistan have given sacrifices for the country.”

The Chief Minister of Balochistan, Sanaullah Zehri, said those injured should be given the best medical treatment and facilities available.

Injured lawyers receiving treatment in back of pick-up truck
These lawyers received medical treatment in the back of a vehicle after the blast
Pakistani lawyers in Quetta mourning their colleagues
                  Eighteen lawyers were among those killed

There have been a number of targeted killings in Quetta, linked to a separatist insurgency as well as sectarian tensions and crime.

Those killed in recent weeks have included several lawyers.

Mr Kasi had strongly condemned the attacks and local media said he had announced a two-day boycott of court sessions in protest at the killing of a colleague last week.

Those killed in the hospital attack were said to include Baz Muhammad Kakar, a predecessor of Mr Kasi as provincial bar president, 17 other lawyers and Shahzad Khan, a cameraman for Aaj TV.

Facebook has activated its safety check feature for Quetta, allowing users to mark themselves or others as being safe.

Hospital interior with broken window after blast
                The blast broke several hospital windows
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