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Deadly blast hits luxury venue in Quetta

A bomb explosion at a luxury hotel in the Pakistani city of Quetta has killed at least four people and wounded 11.

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

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

The Pakistani Taliban have claimed the attack, without giving details.

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

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

The Serena Hotel is the best known 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”.

Flames at smoke during the explosion at the Serena Hotel
image captionChinese Ambassador Nong Rong was not at the hotel at the time of the explosion

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 Mr 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.

Militants want independence from the rest of Pakistan, and oppose major Chinese infrastructure projects in the area.

BBC NEWS

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