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Death toll from bomb blasts in Pakistan climbs to 125

Pakistani Shia Muslim mourners sit beside the coffins of bombing victims at a mosque in Quetta, Balochistan Province, January 11, 2013.

Pakistani Shia Muslim mourners sit beside the coffins of bombing victims at a mosque in Quetta, Balochistan Province, January 11, 2013.

The death toll from a wave of bomb attacks targeting both security guards and civilians, including Shia Muslims, in Pakistan has climbed to 125.

On Thursday, at least 92 people were killed and 121 others wounded in two separate bomb blasts in Quetta, the provincial capital of the southwestern Balochistan Province.

The first bomb struck inside a snooker club. Minutes later, a bomber blew himself up in a car, ripping through the site to which police officers, media workers and rescue teams had rushed, according to the police.

Officials said nine police officers, three local journalists, several rescue workers and a spokesman for the Frontier Corps paramilitary were among the dead.

Earlier on Thursday, 11 people were killed and dozens wounded in a bomb attack targeting a vehicle belonging to the security forces in a crowded part of Quetta.

Pakistani militant group Lashkar-e-Jhangvi has claimed responsibility for the deadly attacks.

Meanwhile, a separate blast at a religious gathering in the northwestern Swat valley killed 22 people and wounded more than 80.

Thousands of Pakistanis have lost their lives in bombings and other attacks since 2001, when Pakistan joined an alliance with the United States in Washington’s so-called war on terror.

Since late 2009, there has been a surge in militant attacks in Pakistan. Thousands have been displaced by the wave of violence and militancy sweeping the country.

Shia Muslims in the country have also been targeted in violent campaigns over the past few years.

Hundreds of Shia Muslims were killed across Pakistan last year. The attacks targeted many doctors, engineers, high-ranking government officials, teachers, and politicians.

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A string of bombings across Pakistan killed 115 on Thursday in one of the deadliest days in the country’s recent history. A large portion of the victims were killed in twin attacks on a billiard hall in Quetta, in the country’s southwest.

­The Quetta billiard hall was hit by two blasts in five-minute succession Thursday night, killing 81 people and injuring another 120, police said.

Quetta is located in the restive Baluchistan province, home to a nationalist uprising that rejects the Pakistani government’s authority in the region.

The blasts killed and injured rescue workers, police and journalists as well as residents socializing at the pool hall.

­The double attack occurred in a majority Shiite Muslim area. Most of those killed or injured as the first bomb exploded were Shiite, according to police officer Mohammed Murtaza. The second was detonated as people swarmed the scene to help the victims, Murtaza said, and caused the building’s roof to collapse.

Pakistan is a majority Sunni country, and its Shiite minority often falls victim to such attacks.

Militant group Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, which is known for its terrorist acts targeting Shiites, claimed responsibility for the blasts. Lashkar-e-Jhangvi spokesman Bakar Saddiq told journalists that a suicide bomber had conducted the first blast, while the second was the result of a bomb placed in a car and detonated by remote control.

Pakistani paramilitary soldiers were also targeted Thursday as a bomb hit a commercial area in Quetta. The blast killed twelve people and wounded 40 more, police said.

­Insurgent separatist group United Baluch Army told local journalists that they were behind the attack.

In the city of Mingora, in the city’s north, a crowded Sunni mosque was hit by a bomb that killed 22 people and injured more than 70; no group has so far claimed responsibility.

Local residents search for the blast victims at the site of a bomb attack in Quetta on January 10, 2013 (AFP Photo / Banaras Khan)
Local residents search for the blast victims at the site of a bomb attack in Quetta on January 10, 2013 (AFP Photo / Banaras Khan)
Pakistani paramedics treat an injured blast victim at a hospital following a bomb attack in Quetta on January 10, 2013 (AFP Photo / Banaras Khan)
Pakistani paramedics treat an injured blast victim at a hospital following a bomb attack in Quetta on January 10, 2013 (AFP Photo / Banaras Khan)
Local residents look at a destroyed building following overnight twin suicide bombings in Quetta on January 11, 2013 (AFP Photo / Banaras Khan)
Local residents look at a destroyed building following overnight twin suicide bombings in Quetta on January 11, 2013 (AFP Photo / Banaras Khan)
Local residents gather at the site of the overnight twin suicide bombings in Quetta on January 11, 2013 (AFP Photo / Banaras Khan)
Local residents gather at the site of the overnight twin suicide bombings in Quetta on January 11, 2013 (AFP Photo / Banaras Khan)
Local residents gather at the site of the overnight twin suicide bombings in Quetta on January 11, 2013 (AFP Photo / Banaras Khan)
Local residents gather at the site of the overnight twin suicide bombings in Quetta on January 11, 2013 (AFP Photo / Banaras Khan)

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