Islamabad: The death toll in a devastating bomb attack that targeted Shia Hazaras in Quetta city of southwestern Pakistan on Sunday rose to 81 as several persons died in hospital and bodies were pulled out of the rubble of collapsed buildings, officials said.

About 40 people were killed instantly when hundreds of kilograms of explosives hidden in a water tank loaded on a tractor-trolley were detonated in a busy market at Kirani Road in Hazara Town, a suburb of Quetta, last evening.

Several seriously injured people died in hospital overnight and rescue workers dug out bodies from the debris of buildings flattened by the powerful blast that was heard all over Quetta, the capital of the restive Balochistan province.

Nearly 200 people were injured and authorities made arrangements to airlift people with serious injuries to Karachi.

The explosion created a crater six feet deep and nearly 20 feet long. Some reports said about 800 kg of explosives were used in the attack, for which the banned Lashkar-e- Jhangvi claimed responsibility.

LeJ spokesman Abubakar Siddique told reporters, “Our suicide bomber carried out the blast and the Shia community in Hazara Town was the target."

There was no official word on whether a suicide bomber was involved in the incident, which was the deadliest attack on Quetta's Shia Hazaras since 92 members of the community were killed in twin suicide bombings on January 10.

(Agencies)

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