ISLAMABAD, Pakistan — A suicide bomber riding a motorcycle rammed into a military truck near a busy bus station in southwestern Pakistan, killing at least 15 people, including eight soldiers, and wounding at least 40 others, military officials said on Sunday.
The Islamic State group claimed responsibility for the attack on Saturday in Quetta, the capital of Baluchistan Province in the southwest. A military spokesman said the attack had been aimed at sabotaging Independence Day celebrations, as Pakistan will mark its 70th anniversary on Monday.
Active-duty troops in the Pakistani Army have rarely come under attack in Quetta, although paramilitary forces and police officers have repeatedly faced assaults by militants in the city.
The explosion, which was heard far away and set off a fire that engulfed vehicles nearby, left several people critically injured. The wounded were taken to Civil Hospital and Combined Military Hospital.
The attack, near several important government and private buildings — including the provincial assembly — renewed concerns about security arrangements in the city, which has long reeled under militant and sectarian violence despite the heavy presence of security forces and paramilitary soldiers.
Gen. Qamar Javed Bajwa, the Pakistani army chief, arrived in the city on Sunday morning to chair a high-level security briefing and visit the wounded at the military hospital, officials said. The interior minister, Ahsan Iqbal, had also traveled to the provincial capital on Saturday for meetings with senior civil and military officials.
The Islamic State, also known as ISIS or ISIL, has claimed to be behind several terrorist attacks in the province, which borders Afghanistan and Iran, in recent months.