At least nine people have been killed and over 35 others were wounded when a suicide bomber on a bicycle blew himself up near an army convoy in Pakistan’s western city of Quetta on Saturday, police and hospital officials said.
Pakistani Taliban spokesman Muhammad Khurasani said that the group, also known as Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), was responsible for the attack in the capital of Baluchistan Province.
The bombing was the latest in a series of attacks on security forces in the province, in which between eight and 10 kilograms of explosive material had been used, provincial police chief Ahsan Mahboob told reporters.
Senior police official Imtiaz Shah said that the militants targeted Pakistan's paramilitary forces, also known as the Frontier Corps.
"The suicide bomber was riding a bicycle close to a Frontier Corps vehicle," Shah said.
Two of the dead were paramilitary soldiers while seven were civilians, police said citing initial reports.
Including women and children, several of those injured are in critical condition, as paramedics expect the death toll to rise.
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif condemned the attack, stating that security operations would continue countrywide "until the last terrorist is eliminated."
TTP has increased its offensives against the Pakistani Army since the militant group divided from the Afghan Taliban in 2007.
Baluchistan Province, which is the least developed and poorest province in Pakistan, is strategically important, as it is home to multi-billion-dollar energy and infrastructure projects that China and Pakistan are planning, along a corridor stretching from the Arabian Sea to China's Xinjiang region.
Residents of the province, who have faced violence between ethnic groups over the last decade have long complained that they do not receive a fair share of its gas and mineral wealth.