Alwaght- At least 15 were killed in Pakistan's Quetta city when a bomb exploded near a crowded market on Saturday
ISIS terrorist group claimed responsibility for the attack in the restive southwestern province of Baluchistan, saying a motorcycle suicide bomber had killed 17 soldiers.
The powerful blast hit as a paramilitary patrol passed by on the road, Baluchistan provincial home minister Sarfraz Bugti said, adding the patrol may have been the target, Reuters reported.
"According to the information we have received so far, there are around 15 casualties, people who were martyred, and around 40 people were wounded," Bugti said. He said a state of emergency had been imposed in the city and all hospitals were on alert.
Quetta's chief of bomb disposal squad, Aslam Tareen, said initial information was that a suicide attacker rammed a motorcycle into a military vehicle.
Pakistan's army press wing said the patrol was the target and there were at least seven civilians among the 15 killed.
It cited army chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa as saying terrorists were trying to disrupt Monday's celebrations of 70 years of independence from Britain.
"Our resolve won't succumb to any challenge," Bajwa was quoted as saying in an official tweet from a top military spokesman.
Separatist militants in Baluchistan have waged a campaign against the central government for decades, demanding a greater share of the gas-rich province's resources.
Taliban and other militant groups also operate in the province, which shares borders with Afghanistan and Iran.
The province was rocked by a series of attacks late last year that claimed over 180 lives and raised concerns about a growing militant presence, including fighters affiliated with Islamic State, which has claimed several bombings in Baluchistan.