A suicide bomber killed at least 63 people at a hospital in Pakistan

More than a hundred bereaved lawyers had gathered in the hospital's emergency wing to mourn the murder of a colleague
August 8, 2016, 1:15pm

A suicide bombing in the emergency department of a hospital in Quetta, Pakistan on Monday left 63 dead and more than 50 injured, many seriously.

More than 100 mourners had gathered in the hospital to pay their dues to a prominent lawyer, Bilal Anwar Kasi, who was shot dead by armed men earlier that day.

One journalist in attendance told Al-Jazeera that the bereaved crowd were mostly lawyers and other journalists, and that many of the dead and wounded were wearing black suits and ties. Video recorded at the scene shows one mourner reciting a religious passage, and then the bomb goes off, and the camera goes dark.

Aaj TV cameraman recites Kalima as the bomb goes off in #Quetta. May Allah grant him Jannah. pic.twitter.com/AvD3kmLyBJ
— Farhan Mallick (@FGMallick) August 8, 2016

The militant group Jamaat-ur-Ahrar – a splinter faction of the Pakistani Taliban – claimed responsibility for the attack in an email to local journalists.

Jamaat-ur-Ahrar has claimed responsibility for at least five attacks in Pakistan this year, including the devastating attack at a park in Lahore on Easter Sunday that left more than 70 people dead.

Just last week the US State Department announced that it was adding Jamaat-ur-Ahrar to its list of global terror groups.

The attack also comes as part of a wave of violent assaults on lawyers, particularly in Quetta. The president of the law school in Quetta was gunned down in June. Another well-known advocate was shot dead last week in Quetta.

Related: Bomb kills at least 15 at polio vaccination center in Pakistan

"It seems it was a pre-planned attack," Anwar ul Haq Kakar, spokesman for the Baluchistan government said, according to Reuters, adding that the bombing appeared to target the mourning lawyers.

In January, both the Pakistani Taliban and Jundullah, a militant group that pledged allegiance to the Islamic State, claimed a suicide attack at a polio vaccination center in Quetta that left 15 dead. Vaccination campaigns are often targeted by radical Muslim militants, who see them as conspiracies by the West.