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Gunmen kill 19 in Pakistan's Balochistan province

Relatives mourn the killing of a Pakistani police officer and his family at a hospital morgue in Quetta, Balochistan, November 15, 2017. (Photo by AFP)

Gunmen have killed 15 men and a police official and three of his family members in separate attacks in Pakistan's southwestern province of Balochistan.

Darmoon Bawani, an administrator in Turbat district, said the 15 men were killed in a mountain village and their bodies were found on Wednesday. The victims ranged in age from 18 to 30 years, and all came from the populous Punjab province.

The men were reportedly planning to cross into Iran on their way to Europe, seeking jobs as migrant laborers.

No group or individual has so far claimed responsibility for the attack. Workers from Punjab have come under attack in the past by Baloch separatists. Several militant groups are also active across the region.

Separately, armed assailants riding on motorcycles opened fire on a car transporting a deputy superintendent of police and his wife, son and daughter, killing them on the spot.

Anwarul Haq, a government spokesman, said the attack took place in the provincial capital Quetta. The attack came a week after a bomber killed Quetta's police chief and three other officers. Taliban militants claimed responsibility for that assault.

Quetta, the largest city of Balochistan, has seen several bombings and shooting attacks over the past years.

Balochistan was rocked by a series of terrorist attacks late last year, raising fears about an increasing presence of armed militants in the area, including terrorists linked to the Daesh Takfiri terrorist group.

Separatist militants in the province have also been engaged in a decades-long campaign against the central government.

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