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49 killed in Pakistani bombings

A Pakistani helped an injured boy at the site of a car bombing on the outskirts of Peshawar Sunday.

Mohammad Sajjad/Associated Press

A Pakistani helped an injured boy at the site of a car bombing on the outskirts of Peshawar Sunday.

QUETTA, Pakistan — Bombings killed 49 people in three areas of Pakistan on Sunday, just as Britain’s prime minister was in the capital pledging to help to fight extremism.

In the deadliest of the attacks, twin blasts near a Shi’ite Muslim mosque in Quetta, the capital of southwest Baluchistan province, killed at least 28 people, including nine women and several children, said city police chief Mir Zubair Mahmood. Dozens of others were wounded.

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Initial reports indicated a hand grenade caused the first blast, forcing people to run in the direction of the mosque, where a suicide bomber detonated his explosives, said another police officer.

Security forces prevented the bomber from entering the mosque, or the death toll would have been higher, said the provincial Home Secretary Akbar Durrani. Radical Sunni Muslims have stepped up attacks in the past two years against minority Shi’ites, whom they consider to be heretics.

No one has claimed responsibility for the attack. Suspicion will likely fall on the militant group Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, which has carried out many of the attacks against Shi’ites in Baluchistan in recent years.

In the northwest, a car bomb exploded as a convoy of paramilitary troops passed through the outskirts of the city of Peshawar, killing at least 17 people and wounding dozens of others, police said.

Most of the dead and wounded were civilians, although nine paramilitary Frontier Corps troops were hurt, said police official Shafiullah Khan. The blast struck one Frontier Corps vehicle, but the other passed by safely.

Elsewhere in the northwest, a roadside bomb struck an army convoy and killed four soldiers in the North Waziristan tribal area, the main sanctuary for Taliban and Al Qaeda militants in the country, said intelligence officials, speaking on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to talk to reporters. The blast also wounded 20 soldiers, the officials said.

No one has claimed responsibility for the attacks in the northwest, but suspicion will fall on the Pakistani Taliban.

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