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Attacks in three Pakistani cities leave at least 85 people dead, many injured

epa06045843 Smoke billows from the scene of a suicide bomb blast at Toori market in Parachinar, Paki
Smoke billows from the scene of a suicide bomb blast at Toori market in Parachinar, Pakistan, June 23, 2017.
(European Pressphoto Agency)

A series of attacks in three Pakistani cities Friday left at least 61 people dead and many injured, authorities said.

A suicide bomber in the city of Quetta killed at least 12 people and injured about 20, officials said. Some of the injured were hospitalized in critical condition.

The injured groaned in pain, and some cried for help. At the scene, pieces of shattered glass were strewn across the area and cars were damaged. The blast had been heard across the city.

Anwarul Haq Kakar, a spokesman for Baluchistan province, told reporters the bomb was planted in a moving car.

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Later, twin blasts occurred in a congested market in the city of Parachinar, the main city in the Kurram tribal region, officials said.

Witnesses said that after the first blast people gathered and were busy in the rescue work, when the second blast, which was much powerful, occurred and caused casualties. At least 45 people were reported killed and many were injured. By Saturday, the death toll climbed to 67, raising the overall deaths from the three explosions to 85, said officials.

On Friday evening, gunmen in the port city of Karachi attacked police officers at a roadside restaurant and killed four of them before fleeing, according to senior police officer Asif Ahmed, the Associated Press reported.

The attacks occurred ahead of the Muslim holiday of Eid, which ends the holy month of Ramadan.

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Hours after the Quetta attack, Jamaat-ul-Ahrar, a breakaway faction of the Pakistani Taliban, claimed responsibility. Asad Mansoor, the militants’ spokesman, vowed more such attacks as part of the extremist group’s campaign aimed at imposing Islamic laws in the country, the AP reported.

Later, the Islamic State extremist group said it was behind the attack, adding that one of its followers targeted the police post in Quetta, detonating his suicide belt there. It also released a photograph of the alleged attacker, identified as Abu Othman Khorasani, according to the AP.

The competing claims could not be reconciled.

An ambulance transports victims after a twin blasts at a market in the Pakistani city of Parachinar
An ambulance transports victims after a twin blasts at a market in the Pakistani city of Parachinar on June 23.
(AFP/Getty Images)

Ali is a special correspondent.

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UPDATES:

10:55 a.m.: This article was updated with a revised death toll of 85.

1:05 a.m., June 24: This article was updated with a revised death toll of 61.

11:45 p.m.: This article was updated with a revised death toll of 56.

4:20 p.m.: This article was updated throughout with Times reporting.

This article was originally published at 9:35 a.m., June 23.

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