QUETTA, Pakistan: The death toll from the bombing of a mosque in the southwestern Pakistani city of Quetta rose to 15 on Saturday (Jan 11), officials said, in an escalation of militant violence.

An improvised explosive device ripped through the mosque during Friday evening prayers, killing 13 people and wounding more than 20, police said.

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Islamic State claimed responsibility for the bombing, which it said targeted an Afghan Taliban seminary.

Mineral and gas-rich Balochistan, of which Quetta is the capital, is at the centre of the US$60 billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, part of China's Belt and Road project.

But violence in the province has fuelled concerns about the security of projects such as a planned energy link from western China to Pakistan's southern port of Gwadar.

Friday's attack was the second in the city this week, while police said they had foiled another by killing a suicide attacker Rawalpindi city near Islamabad after he shot and killed two policemen.

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A police officer stands amidst the damages as he is surveying and collecting evidence from the site of a bomb blast in a mosque in Quetta, Pakistan Jan 11, 2020. (Photo: Reuters/Naseer Ahmed)

"Two of the wounded people died overnight in the hospital," said provincial home minister Zia Langove, adding that six people were still in a critical condition.

The Taliban denied in a statement that some of its members, including a top commander, were killed.

Local officials in Quetta's police and Read More – Source

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