ISIS claims responsibility for Pakistani polling station blast

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Pakistani soldiers stand guard at a polling station in Rawalpindi. Photo: AFP

Islamic State claimed responsibility for an explosion near a polling station in Quetta, Pakistan, on Wednesday, according to the group’s AMAQ news agency.

At least 24 people were killed and 35 injured in the blast in the western city of Quetta, which happened as Pakistanis vote in a knife-edge national election.

The group said the attack was carried out by a suicide bomber, but did not provide further detail  or evidence for its claim.

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The bomber targeted a senior police officer and his guards when he came to examine the security  arrangements at the polling station.

There were imminent threats of violence during Wednesday’s voting after a deadly campaign in which more  than 180 people were killed in a series of bombings.

Authorities have ordered the deployment of more than 800,000 troops and police to guard polling stations  across the country.

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Militant Islamic State and Taliban militants have threatened to target the voting, saying they considered  democracy as a system followed by “Western infidels.”

No fewer 100 million people are registered to vote in the Muslim-majority country that has alternated  between democracy and military rule.

No fewer than 11,000 candidates are running in the national legislature and its provincial counterparts, according to election authorities.

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