ISLAMABAD: A major terrorism attempt was foiled Friday afternoon when a suicide bomber was gunned down at a Shia mosque in the federal capital Islamabad.
According to initial reports, the suspected bomber was trying to enter the Imambargah in Bara Kahu a village on the northeastern outskirts of Islamabad, when he was stopped by security guards.
“A suicide bomber targeted a Shia mosque on the outskirts of Islamabad in Bhara Kahu area but could not explode himself due to timely interception by a private security guard,” police officer Nasir Mehmood told news agency AFP.
“The guard opened fire on the bomber as he entered the mosque and killed him. He could not explode his jacket.”
Another police official, Majeed-ur-Rehman, said a guard was killed in an exchange of fire with the bomber before he was shot dead. Another police official confirmed the death.
TV channels showed the body of the bomber lying in the main prayer hall of the mosque. Two cables going up from his left arm could also be seen.
Senior Superintendent of Police Operation Dr Rizwan told a TV channel that the mosque was later sealed off by police personnel and that the bomb disposal squad was called in to clear the area of any explosives.
Pakistan has been gripped by a surge in sectarian violence in recent years.
Security has been beefed up in Islamabad and the rest of the country due to threats of terrorist attacks on the Muslim holy day of Eid ul Fitr, which is being celebrated in Pakistan on Friday.
This was the second major attack on the same day. At least 10 people were killed and many others injured earlier on Friday morning when gunmen attacked worshipers during Eidul Fitr prayers at a mosque in Quetta, the capital of restive Balochistan province.
The attacks came a day after a suicide bomber targeted a police funeral and killed at least 30 people, mostly police officers, in the same city. The Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) claimed responsibility for Thursday's bombing.