Two personnel among four hurt in cracker attack on Rangers vehicle

Published December 16, 2020
Rangers personnel stand outside the gate of KU’s Sheikh Zayed Centre. —Agencies
Rangers personnel stand outside the gate of KU’s Sheikh Zayed Centre. —Agencies

KARACHI: Four people, including two paramilitary soldiers, were wounded in a cracker attack on a moving Rangers mobile near the Sheikh Zayed Islamic Centre on University Road on Tuesday a couple of hours after a Chinese man survived an attempt to bomb his vehicle in Clifton.

An outlawed militant organisation has claimed responsibility for both the attacks.

Officials and witnesses said that two men on a motorbike hurled “explosive substance” on a Rangers mobile van outside the University of Karachi’s Sheikh Zayed Islamic Centre’s entrance and rode away.

The blast hit two Rangers man, security guard Ahmed Deen of Karachi University and passer-by Usman.

An attempt to blow up the car of a Chinese national fails; banned SRA claims responsibility for both attacks

An official at the Mubina Town police station said that all the four injured were stable after being provided immediate treatment. “A forensic team of the Sindh police and officials of other intelligence agencies immediately reached the scene and started collecting evidence. Apparently, it was a locally-made cracker laced with explosives,” he said.

‘Magnet bomb’

Earlier in the day, a Chinese man escaped an attack on his life when a remote-controlled bomb planted on his vehicle failed to detonate.

The officials said the man only came to know about the attempt on his life after police investigators found substantial evidence from the crime scene and recovered the device from his car.

Guard the entrance of the restaurant owned by the Chinese national in Clifton on Tuesday. —Agencies
Guard the entrance of the restaurant owned by the Chinese national in Clifton on Tuesday. —Agencies

“The Chinese [man] owns a restaurant in South district,” said Raja Umer Khattab of the Counter-Terrorism Department (CTD). “After visiting a shopping mall in Clifton, he was returning home when two men on a motorbike spotted his car and ran away after making minor physical contact with his vehicle. The Chinese man didn’t take it very serious and considered it a kind of accident or mistake. However, he only realised about the threat when [he] heard a minor firecracker kind of blast close to his car.”

The Chinese man, he said, got scared and preferred to stay in the car and then parked it at his place before the police were called in for investigation. Within a few minutes of the investigation, the facts started emerging that helped police to connect the dots and ascertain the suspects behind the foiled attempt, he added.

“The physical contact of the bike riders with his [Chinese national’s] car was a move to plant a magnetic device on his vehicle containing explosive material. After a few seconds, they [rider] tried to explode it with the help of a remote control which malfunctioned as only detonator exploded. The explosives in the device weighed one kilogram that could have caused a huge explosion,” said Mr Khattab.

Nationalist groups’ involvement

He recalled that the magnetic bombs in Karachi were initially and mostly used by Harkatul Mujahideen Al-Almi and also other banned outfits like Jundullah and recently the militant Islamic State group.

However, he said that these groups targeted people on religious and sectarian grounds.

“In this fresh case, we suspect nationalists groups who in recent past have attacked Chinese nationals and interests of the neighbouring country in Pakistan. We are collecting evidence involving all best possible technologies to identify the suspects and group behind this attempt,” added Mr Khattab.

Meanwhile, the outlawed Sindhudesh Revolutionary Army (SRA) claimed responsibility for the two attacks in a statement posted on social media and mailed to newspaper offices.

Published in Dawn, December 16th, 2020

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