ISLAMABAD, Pakistan - A suicide bombing in Pakistan on Sunday left 15 people dead, including eight soldiers.
According to military officials, the suicide bomber riding a motorcycle rammed into a military truck near a busy bus station in the southwestern part of the country.
The explosion was reportedly heard for miles and it set off a fire that left vehicles nearby charred.
It left several people critically injured and officials said that about 40 of the injured were taken to the Civil Hospital and Combined Military Hospital.
The Baluchistan provincial home minister, Sarfraz Bugti said, “According to the information we have received so far, there are around 15 casualties, people who were martyred, and around 40 people were wounded.”
He added that a state of emergency had been imposed in the city and all hospitals were on alert.
Later in the day, the Islamic State militant group claimed responsibility for the attack in Quetta, the troubled capital of Baluchistan Province, which has been subject to several attacks in the last two years.
In a statement released on Sunday, a military spokesman said the attack had been aimed at sabotaging Independence Day celebrations, as Pakistan will mark its 70th anniversary on Monday.
Paramilitary forces and police officers have repeatedly faced assaults by militants in Quetta, however authorities pointed out that active-duty troops in the Pakistani Army have rarely come under attack.
The attack, that occurred near several important government and private buildings, including the provincial assembly, renewed concerns about security arrangements in the city, which has been victimized by militant and sectarian violence.
On Sunday, hours after the interior minister, Ahsan Iqbal travelled to the provincial capital to hold meetings with senior civil and military officials - the Pakistani army chief, Gen. Qamar Javed Bajwa, arrived in Quetta, to chair a high-level security briefing.
He also visited the wounded at the military hospital.
Bajwa reportedly told the troops, "Our resolve won't succumb to any challenge.”