At least 70 people — many of them believed to be lawyers and journalists — were killed in a blast at a hospital in northwestern Pakistan, a regional official said.
The explosion also injured at least 112 others, said Rehmat Baloch, the health minister of Balochistan province.
The blast took place at 9:30 a.m. local time (12.30 a.m. ET) Monday in the city of Quetta. The explosion rocked the emergency ward of the civil hospital, Sarfaraz Bugti, Home Minister of Balochistan, told the media.
There have been no claims of responsibility so far.
The attack happened after many lawyers and journalists had gathered at the hospital following the death of prominent lawyer Bilal Kasi, who had been killed in a shooting earlier in the day.
The body of Kasi, who was the Balochistan Bar Association president, had been brought to the hospital following the shooting — prompting many fellow lawyers and members of the media to also converge there.
Kasi’s attackers have not been identified.
Condemnable cowardly terrorists strike Quetta targeting bar president then civil hospital. Even in war hospitals not delib targeted.
— Imran Khan (@ImranKhanPTI) August 8, 2016
“This brutal and senseless attack on civilians, so many of them lawyers working to bring justice to their country, will not undermine one of the most important pillars of Pakistan’s democracy and civil society,” said American Ambassador to Pakistan David Hale in a statement.
Pakistan’s Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif condemned the blast, saying, “No one will be allowed to disturb peace in the province that has been restored due to countless sacrifices of security forces, police and the people of Balochistan.”
Legendary Pakistan cricketer-turned-politician Imran Khan also expressed his dismay at the attack on a hospital.
The prime minister said in a statement that he has directed authorities to “maintain utmost vigilance” and that the country has boosted security for members in the legal fraternity as well as the rest of society.