TAXILA: A suicide bomber blew himself up near a police picket on the GT road near the Mughal garden area of Wah on Tuesday, leaving three members of a family injured.

ASI Babar, who intercepted the suicide bomber, told Dawn that during a routine checking of passenger vehicles coming from Peshawar, a 25-year-old man tried to sneak out from a passenger van coming from the KP and tried to board a Rawalpindi-bound passenger bus.

As policemen tried to search the man, he shouted “get away from me” and hurled a hand-grenade on the policemen, but it missed the target and exploded a few metres away, injuring three members of a family.

The injured were identified as Jamrud Khan, Naseem Bibi and Mehmood Khan. They were taken to THQ hospital, Hassanabdal.

As the bomber made a dash for nearby fields, policemen fired warning shots to stop him, but he ignored the shots and then ran towards Jhatla village. As policemen closed in on him, he blew himself up with a hand grenade.

Police and army personnel rushed to the area and cordoned off scene of the incident.

A bomb disposal squad was called from Rawalpindi to defuse explosives wrapped to the body of the bomber. Sub-divisional Police Officer Saleem Khattak told Dawn that the bomber was travelling in the public transport as a passenger.

He said that pickets had been set up at all entry points of the district following the Taliban massacre of schoolchildren in the Army Public School in Peshawar and their threats of carrying out more such acts of terror across the country.

City Police Officer (CPO) Rawalpindi Humayun Bashir, along with SP Potohar Shafique Tahir, also rushed to the area to investigate the matter.

Rawalpindi City Police Officer (CPO) Humayun Bashir told journalists that search of vehicles had been intensified because of the Taliban threats of more attacks similar to the Peshawar carnage.

He said police had intelligence reports of the possibility of suicide attack as suicide bombers were being transported by several outlawed terrorist organisations.

The CPO said that police patrol, pickets and search of vehicles had been increased. He said half of the bomber’s face had blown up in the blast but police had got clues about his identity.

He said initial investigation suggested that the bomber had no accomplice and was alone in the mission. Awards would be conferred on policemen who foiled the terrorist attack, Humayun Bashir added.

The body of the bomber was taken to the tehsil headquarters hospital in Taxila.

Police have taken the bus driver into custody for interrogation.

Published in Dawn, January 21st, 2015

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