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Pakistan bomb blast targeting Islamist party leader kills 6 at pro-Palestinian rally

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A bomb that exploded near a vehicle carrying a local Islamist party leader has killed six people and injured at least 12 more during a pro-Palestinian rally in southwestern Pakistan that his political group had organized.

The explosion on Friday happened as Maulana Abdul Qadir Luni, a deputy emir of the religious group JUI-Nazriyati, was arriving to join his supporters in their demonstration against Israel’s recent actions in Gaza, according to local police chief Abdul Bashir.

Luni was treated for injuries and released from hospital, local media outlets reported. But six people at the rally were killed in the blast, which also injured at least 12 other people.

Police were on scene investigating the circumstances surrounding the explosion, but it is thought to have been caused by a bomb attached to a motorbike on the roadside. Footage circulating on social media appeared to show the damaged remains of the vehicle that may have been carrying the Islamist party official.

The attack was met with condemnation from the spokesperson for the Balochistan province’s government, Liaquat Shahwani, who called for individuals to “pray for the forgiveness of the martyrs” and stated that an emergency has been imposed in the area to support medical professionals caring for those hurt in the blast.

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No group has taken responsibility for the explosion yet but the region where it occurred has been the site of clashes between security forces and insurgents for more than a decade, as separatists seek to establish an autonomous zone. There are also a number of other militant groups present within the area, including the Pakistani branch of the Taliban.

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