Thursday, March 4, 2021

Islamic State claims attack on Pakistan Shia miners that killed 11

Hazaras are frequently targeted by Sunni Muslim militant groups in both Pakistan and Afghanistan.

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The Islamic State (IS) has claimed responsibility for an attack on Sunday morning that killed 11 miners from Pakistan’s minority Shiite Hazara community in Baluchistan province.

Hazaras have been frequently targeted by Taliban and IS militants and other Sunni Muslim militant groups in both Pakistan and Afghanistan.

The attack took place in Bolan district around 100km southeast of Baluchistan’s capital Quetta.

The miners were in a shared residential room near the coal mine where they worked, officials said.

“The throats of all coal miners have been slit, after their hands were tied behind their backs and they were blindfolded,” a security official told Reuters, requesting anonymity as he is not allowed to speak to media.

A video clip on WhatsApp, apparently shot by a first responder, showed three bodies lying outside the room and the rest inside in pools of blood.

“The condemnable killing of 11 innocent coal miners in Baluchistan is yet another cowardly inhuman act of terrorism,” Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan tweeted.

IS later claimed responsibility for the attack through its Amaq news agency via its Telegram communications channel.

The attack came after a lull in nearly a year of violence against the Shiite Hazara minority in the province. In April, a market suicide bombing killed 18 people, half of whom were Hazaras.

Following Sunday’s attack, members of the Hazara minority in Quetta blocked the western bypass and set fire to tyres to protest against the killings.

Baluchistan is the focus of the US$60 billion China Pakistan Economic Corridor, a transport and energy link planned between western China and Pakistan’s southern deepwater port of Gwadar.

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