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Suspected Suicide Bombing In Pakistan Kills Three Chinese Teachers And Their Pakistani Driver

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Charred Remains At Scene Of Karachi Blast
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WATCH: A blast has destroyed a van inside a university campus in the southern Pakistani city of Karachi, killing three Chinese citizens and their Pakistani driver, officials said.

Three Chinese citizens and their Pakistani driver were killed on April 26 in a blast carried out by an apparent suicide bomber on a van belonging to a Chinese language and cultural center that is part of the University of Karachi, officials said.

The attack at the entrance of the Confucius Institute at the university was claimed by the ethnic separatist Balochistan Liberation Army (BLA), which operates in nearby Balochistan Province.

The university said the director of the Confucius Institute, which teaches Chinese language classes, was among the dead. The other two Chinese nationals killed also were teachers at the institute, which opened six years ago and is also affiliated with a Chinese university in Wuhan.

Two people were injured. One was another Chinese national, also a teacher at the institute, and the other was their bodyguard, according to police.

Karachi police chief Ghulam Nabi Memon said the initial investigation suggested a suicide bomber may have been involved.

"The information we've got is that the female bomber was most probably a student at the university," Memon told local Geo News TV.

A spokesman for the university, Zeeshan Azmat, told RFE/RL’s Radio Mashaal that a bomber struck the van. A video captured by a security camera and obtained by Radio Mashaal showed what appeared to be a woman standing along a street and an explosion as the van turns in front of her.

Police did not verify the footage. Hours later, the charred remains of the van and other debris from the blast stood behind yellow police tape as authorities collected data.

The BLA, which has targeted Chinese nationals in attacks in the past, said earlier in a statement that the attack was perpetrated by a female suicide bomber. BLA also issued what it said was a photo of the alleged suicide attacker.

The "Baloch Liberation Army accepts responsibility for today's self-sacrificing attack," the group's spokesman, Jeeyand Baloch, said in a statement published on Telegram.

The Chinese Embassy in Pakistan confirmed the deaths of three Chinese teachers in what it called a terrorist attack.

A statement on the embassy website condemned the attack and expressed "deep condolences to the victims of the two countries and sincere condolences to the injured and their relatives, and will make every effort to deal with the incident along with the Pakistani side."

The U.S. Consulate in Karachi also condemned the attack, saying: “This cowardly act stands in direct contrast to the peaceful spirit of Ramadan, and we offer our deepest condolences to the victims and their families and those who lost their loved ones."

Pakistani Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif condemned the attack.

"I am deeply grieved on the loss of precious lives including of our Chinese friends in the heinous attack in Karachi today," he said on Twitter. "My heartfelt condolences go to the bereaved families. I strongly condemn this cowardly act of terrorism. The perpetrators will surely be brought to justice."

Much of the violence carried out by the BLA is seen as a reaction by Baloch militants to China's investment plans in the region that envisage linking its Xinjiang Province with the Arabian Sea through a network of roads and railways.

The proposed $60 billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor plan is meant to give Beijing access to markets in the Middle East, Europe, and Africa.

With reporting by AP, AFP, and Dawn

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