Tuesday, October 26, 2021

Pakistan luxury hotel bomb may have targeted Chinese ambassador

Militant groups in the region oppose major Chinese infrastructure projects in the area.

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A car bomb has exploded at a luxury hotel in the Pakistani city of Quetta, killing at least four people and wounding more than 11.

The Chinese ambassador to Pakistan is suspected to have been the target of the attack in the car park of the Serena Hotel, local media correspondents say.

He is reportedly in Quetta, the capital of Balochistan province near the restive Afghan border, but was not present at the scene at the time.

The Pakistani Taliban have claimed the attack, reports the BBC.

In recent months the group, and other militant organisations, have stepped up attacks in tribal areas near the border with Afghanistan.

Footage of the blast was shared on social media, showing a fire raging in the hotel’s car park.

The Serena Hotel is the most expensive in Quetta, and provides accommodation for government officials and visiting dignitaries.

Interior Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmad told Pakistani broadcaster ARY News TV that “a car that was full of explosives exploded in the hotel”.

He added that the Chinese ambassador, Nong Rong, was at a function at the time and so was not at the hotel.

Balochistan’s provincial Home Minister Ziaullah Lango told reporters that Nong was “in high spirits” and that his visit to Quetta would conclude on Thursday.

Balochistan is the site of a long-running separatist insurgency as militant groups want independence from the rest of Pakistan and oppose major Chinese infrastructure projects in the area.

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