Suicide car bomb explodes at luxury hotel in Pakistan’s Quetta, 5 killed

A bomb exploded at a luxury hotel in the Pakistani city of Quetta, the capital of Balochistan province killing at least five people and wounding 12.

The Pakistani Taliban said it was behind the blast in the car park of the Serena Hotel, and that it had targeted police officers and other officials.

A Taliban spokesman described it as an attack by a suicide bomber using a car filled with explosives. The fire spread to several other vehicles nearby.

Two security guards are reported to be among the dead. Local media cited officials as saying that all guests at the hotel were safe.

The Serena Hotel is the best known in Quetta, and provides accommodation for government officials and visiting dignitaries.

Reports claim the initial target was China’s ambassador.

Ambassador Nong Rong was not present at the hotel at the time of the attack on Wednesday.

The Pakistani Taliban did not mention the Chinese ambassador in its statements.

Terror attacks in Pakistan have stepped up in recent weeks.

Balochistan province, near the Afghan border, is home to several armed groups, including Islamist extremists and separatists.

Separatists want independence from the rest of Pakistan and oppose major Chinese infrastructure projects in the area. Separatists in the region accuse the government and China of exploiting Balochistan, one of Pakistan’s poorest provinces, for its gas and mineral wealth

China’s foreign ministry, Wang Wenbin, said the country condemns the bombing and was “saddened by the innocent victims”.

He said there had been no reports of casualties or injuries among China’s delegation in the region.

The Chinese embassy in Pakistan told China’s Global Times media outlet that all staff there were safe.

Balochistan’s provincial Home Minister Ziaullah Lango told reporters that Mr Nong was “in high spirits” and that his visit to Quetta would conclude on Thursday.