DERA ISMAIL KHAN: A suicide bomber targeted a government-run hospital here on Sunday, killing six people, two of them policemen, and wounding 28 others, shortly after a gun attack on a police check-post left two policemen dead.
The bodies of the two policemen killed in the check-post attack were shifted to the Trauma Centre of the District Headquarters Hospital where the suicide bomber detonated explosives strapped to his body. At that time, colleagues and relatives of the slain constables had gathered there.
Officials said that the suicide bomber clad in a black ‘shuttlecock’ burqa was sitting near the entrance of the Trauma Centre. They said that the explosion took place when the bodies of the two policemen were being shifted inside the centre.
District police chief Salim Riaz told the media that two policemen and four civilians, including a minor girl, were killed in the suicide bombing.
TTP’s Khorasani group claims responsibility
The explosion caused damage to the building of the Trauma Centre and several vehicles and motorcycles parked inside the hospital.
According to an AFP report, the suicide bombing was carried out by a woman. The news agency quoted district police chief Riaz as saying “the female bomber, aged around 28 years, came on foot and blew herself up”.
Earlier, gunmen on four motorcycles opened fire on policemen at Kotla Saidan check-post around 7.45am, killing two policemen, the official said.
The banned Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP)’s Khorasani group has claimed responsibility for the two attacks on social media networks.
Officials of the bomb disposal squad collected evidence and body parts of the suicide bomber from the spot.
A forensics expert said that explosives weighing at least eight to 10 kilogrammes were used in the suicide attack.
The seriously wounded people were airlifted to Peshawar and Islamabad. Security was put on high alert after the suicide attack and security forces started checking vehicles at entry and exit points of Dera Ismail Khan.
The funeral prayer of the slain policemen was held at the Police Lines and attended by senior civil and military officials. After the funeral prayer, the bodies of the policemen were sent to their hometowns.
Agencies add: Mohammad Khorasani, a spokesman for the TTP, said the suicide attack was carried out in revenge for the killing of two Taliban commanders by counter-terrorism police around a month ago. However, he denied the bomber was a woman.
Later on Sunday, police said they had arrested 16 suspects in the attack, all of whom belong to banned organisations. Police officer Habib Ahmed said authorities also seized weapons during the manhunt.
Prime Minister Imran Khan has strongly condemned the terrorist attacks and expressed his deep grief and sorrow over loss of lives in the incidents.
The prime minister prayed for eternal peace of departed souls and the bereaved families to bear the loss with equanimity, the PM office media wing said in a press release said.
He directed for provision of best medical treatment to the injured and prayed for their early recovery.
Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Chief Minister Mahmood Khan has condemned the incident and said that the government shares the grief and loss of the victims’ families. He said that such cowardly attacks would not dampen their resolve to maintain peace.
Awami National Party president Asfandyar Wali Khan has also expressed sorrow over the loss of precious lives in the two attacks and urged the government to ensure implementation of the National Action Plan to counter terrorism. He said that the government should take across-the-board action against all proscribed and extremist groups.
Published in Dawn, July 22nd, 2019