PESHAWAR: The Tehrik-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) has claimed responsibility for a suicide attack on Tuesday that targeted a convoy of the Frontier Corps (FC) in Peshawar carrying a high-ranking military official.
At least four people — including a woman and a security official — were killed and fourteen others injured in the blast targeting Brigadier Khalid Javed, who narrowly escaped the explosion and was said to be safe.
Shahidullah Shahid, a spokesman for the Mullah Fazlullah-led militant group, said the attack on the security forces convoy was a reaction to the Zarb-i-Azb military operation against militants in the troubled North Waziristan tribal region.
Confirming that the attack was meant to target Brigadier Javed, the TTP spokesman vowed to launch attacks on members of the Pakistan Mulsim League – Nawaz (PML-N) government.
CCPO Peshawar Ijaz Khan told reporters that those killed include a woman, an FC man and a passerby.He added that 14 people, including security personnel, were injured in the explosion on Saddar Road caused by a car bomb.
|A police officer collects evidence from the site of a bomb attack on a Frontier Corps (FC) convoy in Peshawar September 23, 2014. At least three people were killed and several injured in the bomb attack targeting the FC convoy on Tuesday, according to local media. — Photo by Reuters|
“The car was an Alto vehicle and was moving…we have found traces of explosives,” Khan said. "It seems like the blowback of operation Zarb-i-Azb [in North Waziristan] has started," he added.
According to a military official, Brigadier Khaled Javed hails from Wah and is the Deputy Inspector General of the Frontier Corps. His house in Peshawar is located on a busy road and is easy to access. Javed and some other senior military officials later also visited the site of the explosion that took place near an office of the PTCL and the railway station.
Hospital officials confirmed the deaths saying those killed include a 20-year-old woman Saba Gul; a Noshera resident 27-year-old Muhammad Zahir Khan and a Bara FC official Zareen Afridi.
Two among the injured are security personnel, administration of the Lady Reading Hospital said, adding that three of the wounded were in a critical condition. An unspecified number of injured was also taken to the Combined Military Hospital (CMH) Peshawar.
AIG bomb disposal squad Shafqat Malik said 45 kilograms of explosives were used in the blast. He said mortar shells were also put in with the explosives to increase the impact of the blast.
|A military officer examines wreckage of a vehicle at the site of a suicide bomb attack in Peshawar on September 23, 2014. — Photo by AFP|
The time the explosion occurred, gunfire was also reported from the area and windows of nearby buildings were shattered with the location subsequently cordoned off by security. Moreover, the site was strewn with parts of vehicles, including a car, a rickshaw and a motorcycle. More details could not yet be ascertained as security personnel restricted access to the area in order to collect evidence.
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Speaking to media representatives near the location of the blast, KP Information Minister Mushtaq Ghani said evidence was being collected from the area.
Ghani added that the government would prepare a preliminary report on the explosion and get to the bottom of the incident.
AFP adds: Muhammad Rizwan, a government employee who was passing on a motorbike when the blast occurred, told AFP from his hospital bed it was an deafening explosion.
“I fell from my motorbike after the blast and regained consciousness in the hospital,” said Rizwan, who sustained head and shoulder injuries.
|Police officials stand beside a mangled auto-rickshaw at the site of a suicide bomb attack in Peshawar on September 23, 2014.— Photo by AFP|
Peshawar is the capital of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province as is also the home to the XI Corps, an administrative corp of the Pakistan Army which manages all military activity in KP and is currently engaged in the army offensive in North Waziristan.
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