QUETTA, Pakistan (AP) — The Islamic State group claimed responsibility for an attack on a security convoy in southwestern Pakistan early Tuesday that killed at least five soldiers, according to a monitoring group.
Pakistani police said the explosion in Baluchistan province was caused by a roadside bomb but the claim of responsibility cites an IS suicide bomber as carrying out the attack, according to the U.S.-based SITE Intelligence Group, which monitors militant messaging.
The conflicting reports could not be immediately explained.
It was the second attack in less than a week claimed by the IS regional affiliate known as Islamic State in Khorasan Province. The militant group is headquartered in neighboring Afghanistan.
Last week, an IS suicide bomber targeted a Shiite mosque during Friday prayers in the northwestern city of Peshawar, killing 63 worshippers and wounding nearly 200.
In Tuesday’s attack in the district of Sibi, police also said that 28 people, mostly police officers, were wounded. Wazir Murree, a local police official, said rescuers transported the dead and wounded to hospitals, where an emergency was declared. He said some of wounded were in critical condition.
Local media said the bombing happened near an open area where an annual cultural show was being held. Earlier in the day, Pakistan’s President Arif Alvi attended the festival. The targeted convoy was part of the security deployment surrounding Alvi’s visit. The bombing took place hours after he had left the area.
Baluchistan has been the scene of a long-running insurgency by various Baluch secessionist groups that for decades have staged attacks on security forces and police to press their demands for independence.
Although authorities say they have quelled the insurgency, violence has continued in the province. Local militants and IS also have a presence there.
According to the claim of responsibility, the attacker was a Pakistani national who “detonated his explosive vest amid a gathering of soldiers and policemen,” SITE said.