BY JIM KOURI
Radical Islamists appear to have kicked up the violence a notch against innocent citizens by perpetrating a number of bombings in Pakistan killing at least 120 people on Thursday, including 65 who died in a sectarian attack on a busy pool and billiards hall in the city of Quetta, according to an Israeli police and counterterrorism source who monitors the Taliban and al-Qaeda throughout the region.
According to the Israeli police source, the bomb blasts have made Jan. 10, 2013, the deadliest day in Pakistan in over a year.
Despite having a relatively large, modern military complete with state-of-the-art weaponry, the government continues to experience a bloody terrorism war with the Taliban in the northwest and the Baluch militants in the southwest, the source said.
Patrons in a pool hall in Quetta, the capital of Baluchistan province, experienced two blasts detonated about 10 minutes apart on Thursday night. According to the Middle Eastern news media, about 65 people were and more 160 others were wounded.
The hall was a favorite hangout for the area’s Shiite Muslims, and most of the dead and wounded were from that minority sect. The people who rushed to the scene after the first blast to either help the wounded or to just gawk at the destruction and death were themselves victims of a second bomb.
Police officers, journalists and rescue workers who responded to the initial explosion were among the dead, according to local media.
The Islamic militant group Lashkar-e-Jhangvi told local journalists that they were responsible for the attack. The group claimed the first blast was carried out by a suicide bomber wearing an IED (improvised explosive device) vest while the second bomb was concealed in an automobile and detonated using remote control technology.
In Pakistan, as in other Islamic countries, Radical Sunni groups frequently use violence on Pakistan’s Shiite minority. Sunnis and Shiites hold differing views about who are faithful to Islam and who are not true Muslims.
On Thursday morning, an terrorist bomb targeted a number of paramilitary troops in the same city of Quetta, killing 12 people and wounding about 50 others.
The United Baluch Army, a separatist group, claimed responsibility for the attack on the soldiers in calls to local journalists.
Elsewhere in Pakistan, a bomb in a crowded Sunni mosque in the northwest city of Mingora killed 22 people and wounded more than 70, but no group admitted perpetrating that terrorist attack.
The Moral Liberal Contributing Editor, Jim Kouri, CPP, is the fifth Vice President and Public Information Officer of the National Association of Chiefs of Police, has served on the National Drug Task Force and trained police and security officers throughout the country. Contact Jim.