Pakistan: Senior policeman and 8 others killed in Mosque explosion

A powerful explosion ripped through a mosque in southwest Pakistan during Friday evening prayers, killing a senior police officer and at least eight civilians, police said.

The bombing also wounded 11 other worshipers in the city of Quetta, the capital of the restive Baluchistan province, said local police chief Mohammad Ajmal.

The slain police officer was the likely target of the attack, but authorities were still investigating, Ajmal said. Both he and hospital officials said the death toll from the bombing could rise as some of the wounded were in critical condition.

No one immediately claimed responsibility for the bombing. But the attack came just days after a roadside bomb in Quetta hit a paramilitary force vehicle, killing two troops.

Hizbul Ahrar, an offshoot of the Pakistani Taliban, claimed responsibility for Tuesday’s attack.