Narrow escape for Chinese Ambassador in Pakistan

A car bomb blast late on Wednesday ripped through a luxury hotel’s parking area in the southwestern Pakistani city of Quetta, killing four people and wounding 11, officials said. China’s ambassador to Pakistan was staying at the hotel, but was not there when the bomb exploded, said Pakistan’s interior Minister, Sheikh Rashid Ahmad.

Provincial Home Minister Ziaullah Lango said the envoy was fine. The Pakistan Taliban claimed responsibility for the bombing. “It was a suicide attack in which our suicide bomber used his explosives-filled car in the hotel,” a spokesman for the militant group Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) wrote in a text message to a Reuters reporter. It was not clear whether the envoy or members of his delegation were a target of the attack, but Chinese nationals and their interests in the region have been attacked before by Taliban militants and nationalist insurgents. Hours after the attack, the Pakistani Taliban in a statement claimed responsibility, saying it was a suicide attack. Authorities are investigating to determine whether it was a suicide attack. The Pakistani Taliban is a separate insurgent group from the Afghan Taliban. The hotel is frequented by foreigners as it is the city’s only luxury hotel and is considered safe.