KARACHI, Pakistan 

At least four paramilitary troops were killed and 20 others injured in a suspected suicide attack in Pakistan’s southwestern Quetta city on Sunday morning, police said.

The suspected bomber targeted a security checkpoint at the Quetta-Mastung road when the personnel were engaged in routine security checking, a police spokesman said in a statement.

However, quoting witnesses, local broadcaster Geo News reported that the suspected bomber rammed his explosive-laden motorbike into a security vehicle parked near the checkpoint.

Quetta police chief Azhar Akram told reporters that four security personnel were killed and 20 others were injured in the terrorist attack.

The death toll, he said, may rise as several injured are stated to be in critical condition.

Footage aired on Geo News showed security personnel cordoning off the blast site, and rescue workers shifting the bodies and injured to the hospital. A vehicle in flames could also be seen in the footage.

In a statement to journalists, Muhammad Khurasani, a spokesman for the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), a consortium of several militant outfits in Pakistan, said the group claimed responsibility for the attack.

Prime Minister Imran Khan condemned the attack and extended condolences to the families of the troops who lost their lives and wished recovery to the injured.

“Salute our security forces & their sacrifices to keep us safe by thwarting foreign-backed terrorists’ designs,” Khan wrote on Twitter.

Late last month, an army captain was killed and two soldiers were injured in a roadside explosion in the remote Gichki area of the province.

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