On Saturday, April 13, the Islamic State (IS) group claimed responsibility for a suicide bombing attack that apparently targeted the Hazara Shi'a community in the Hazarganji market area of Quetta (Balochistan province) on Friday, April 12, leaving at least 20 people dead and 48 others wounded. The militant group's claim comes after a faction of the Pakistani Taliban initially claimed responsibility for the assault in coordination with Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LeJ). Hazara community protesters staged a demonstration on Quetta's Western Bypass on Friday following the attack, demanding increased protection from provincial authorities and that the perpetrators of the attack be apprehended. The sit-in protest continued for a second day on Saturday, with demonstrators obstructing traffic.
Continuing protest activity is to be expected in Quetta over the coming hours and days, along with associated transportation and business disruptions. Similar militant attacks targeting Shi'a communities are possible in Balochistan province over the near term.
Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), Al-Qai'da, Islamic State (IS) affiliates, Jamaat-ul-Ahrar, Afghan Taliban, and other Islamist militant groups continue to pose a threat throughout the country despite continued army offensives to push them from their strongholds near the Afghan border. Pakistan has suffered numerous deadly attacks in recent months, notably in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan provinces.
Individuals in Quetta (Balochistan province) are advised to remain vigilant for militant activity, avoid all protests and demonstrations as a precaution, report suspicious objects and behavior to the police, and adhere to any instructions issued by the local authorities and their home governments.
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