PESHAWAR: The death toll from a suicide bomb attack targeting police in Peshawar earlier on Friday has now risen to 11, hospital officials said.
Jamil Shah, a spokesman for the Lady Reading Hospital in the provincial capital, confirmed that two more people had succumbed to their wounds while being treated for injuries from the powerful explosion that struck Sarband, an area in the suburbs of Peshawar.
The victims included women, children and policemen. At least 45 others were injured from the attack, the latest violence to hit Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.
DSP (city) Banaras Khan said the blast appeared to have targeted a police mobile van and was carried out by a suicide bomber.
SP Cantt Faisal Kamran said that due to the sensitive nature of the area, which is situated on the border of the tribal areas, police personnel were using armoured personnel carriers (APC) to conduct routine patrolling when they were targeted by the suicide bomber who was on foot.
The victims were shifted to the Lady Reading Hospital (LRH) where an emergency was imposed. Casualties were also shifted to the Hayatabad Medical complex.
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Six bodies were received at the LRH while three were received at the Hayatababad Medical Complex.
Security personnel cordoned off the area as a probe into the incident went underway.
According to Shafqat Malik, AIG of the Bomb Disposal Squad (BDS), at least eight kilograms of explosives were used in the blast.
According to foreign news agency Reuters, Taliban splinter group Ahrarul Hind claimed responsibility for the attack. “We claim both Peshawar and Quetta attacks,” Reuters quoted their chief Umar Qasmi as saying. “We don't abide by these talks and will continue to stage attacks.”
The leadership of militant group Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), which the Pakistani government has engaged in peace talks to end a seven-year insurgency, immediately distanced itself from the Friday attacks.
Peshawar, the capital of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, lies on the edge of Pakistan's tribal areas which have been labelled by Washington as the main sanctuary for Al Qaeda and Taliban militants in the country.
The city has seen frequent attacks by militants in the past few years, with targets ranging from civilians to policemen and other law enforcement personnel.