The al Qaeda and Taliban-linked Lashkar-e-Jhangvi claimed credit for a suicide assault on female Pakistani university students in the southwestern provincial capital of Quetta. A female suicide bomber carried out one of the attacks; at least 25 people were killed in the bombing on a bus and the blast and assault at a hospital.
The first attack took place after a group of female students boarded a women’s university bus. Pakistani officials told Dawn that a female suicide bomber mingled with the group and the detonated her vest, killing 14 students in the blast.
The second attack took place at the hospital where the wounded survivors of the first attack were taken. A male suicide bomber detonated his vest, then a group of fighters ambushed Pakistani security forces as they arrived on the scene. The Lashkar-e-Jhangvi fighters took hostages during the attack. Pakistani troops later stormed the hospital and freed the hostages.
The paired attacks killed at least 25 people, including female students, hospital workers, and the deputy commissioner of Quetta.
The Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, one of numerous Islamist terror groups that operate in Pakistan, claimed credit for the assault, according to Dawn. The Lashkar-e-Jhangvi has claimed credit for numerous terror attacks in Pakistan, and has released videos of executions of captured Shia prisoners.
The Lashkar-e-Jhangvi has claimed credit for suicide attacks in Quetta in the past; in February the group took credit for the murder of more than 90 Pakistanis, mostly minority Shia, after detonating nearly one ton of “high-grade” explosives in the provincial capital.
Today’s suicide attack on a bus is the second such bombing by a female in Pakistan this year. On April 21, a female suicide bomber, likely from the Movement of the Taliban in Pakistan, killed four people in a blast outside a hospital in Bajaur.
The Taliban, the Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, and the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan have used female suicide bombers at least six other times in Pakistan since December 2010. The IMU claimed credit for the November 2012 suicide attack in Mohmand.
Jihadists in Pakistan and Afghanistan have established camps that are used to indoctrinate and train female bombers. Qari Zia Rahman, the dual-hatted Taliban and al Qaeda leader who operates in Pakistan’s tribal agencies of Mohmand and Bajaur as well as in the Afghan provinces of Kunar and Nuristan, is known to run the suicide training camps [see LWJ report, Al Qaeda, Taliban create female suicide cells in Pakistan and Afghanistan].
Across the border in Afghanistan, the Taliban have used female suicide bombers in at least three other attacks since June 2010. Additionally, the Hizb-i-Islami Gulbuddin (HIG), a Taliban and al Qaeda-allied group, has claimed credit for the September 2011 female suicide attack in Kabul.