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Bombers target home of Pakistani paramilitary official, kill 23

From Nasir Habib, CNN
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Suicide bombings kill many in Pakistan
  • NEW: An ID card at the scene matches one of the bombers' descriptions
  • The Pakistani Taliban claims responsibility
  • The attacks take place in the southwestern Pakistani city of Quetta

Islamabad, Pakistan (CNN) -- Two suicide bombers targeted the home of a senior officer with Pakistan's paramilitary force Wednesday, killing at least 23 people and wounding 52.

The attacks took place in the southwestern Pakistani city of Quetta.

Brigadier Farrukh Shehzad, believed to be the target of the attacks, was injured in the blasts, said Tariq Manzoor, a senior Quetta police officials. Shehzad is a senior official in the Frontier Corps paramilitary force.

Among the dead were Shehzad's wife and six security personnel, he said. None of Shehzad's children were home at the time, as they had left for school before the incident, he said.

The first bomber rammed his explosives-laden car into security vehicles cars parked outside Shehzad's home, officials said. The second attacker, who was on foot, managed to enter the house, said Abdullah Afridi, a senior Quetta police official. When a security officer fired on him, the attacker blew himself up, Afridi said.

The Pakistani Taliban claimed responsibility for the attacks. A spokesman for Tehrik-e-Taliban, Ihsanullah Ihsan, said Shahzad was the target of the attack and expressed regret at the death of his wife. Ihsan said the attacks were retaliation for Shahzad's involvement in an operation against the group on the Pakistan-Afghanistan border last year.

Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan has been described as a "Taliban-inspired alliance of Pakistan-based Sunni tribal militants."

An Afghan refugee card was found at the site, and a picture on the card matches the description of one of the suicide bombers, said an official in the paramilitary force who asked not to be identified. The card identifies a 21-year-old man from Afghanistan's Kunduz province who was living in Peshawar, Pakistan.

About 60 kilograms of explosive material was used in the explosions, Manzoor said.

Quetta is the capital of Balochistan province, which has been a hotbed for militancy.

The U.S. Embassy in Islamabad condemned the blasts in a statement Wednesday. "Nothing can justify immoral and indiscriminate attacks against innocents, including Pakistan's security forces," the statement said. "We extend condolences to the families and friends of the victims and salute Pakistan's brave security forces who put their lives on the line to protect their country."

Journalist A.S. Khattak contributed to this report.