‘Al Qaeda, Taliban behind Pindi blast’

01 Nov 2007

Email

ISLAMABAD, Oct 31: Police said on Wednesday that Osama bin Laden’s Al-Qaeda network and the Taliban were likely linked to Tuesday’s suicide attack in Rawalpindi that killed seven people.

The blast may also be a reaction to an ongoing government crackdown on militants in northwest of the country and a raid on Lal Masjid in Islamabad in July, the city police chief said.

“Taliban and Al Qaeda elements are there. Most probably they could be instrumental in this attack,” police chief Saud Aziz told AFP.

He said police had found the disfigured head of the bomber, who is believed to be about 23 years old and who blew himself up when police stopped him at a checkpost guarding a high security area.

“A plastic surgeon has reconstructed the face of the bomber. Police also found three of his fingers and have sent them to the national registration office for identification,” he said.

Police were also carrying out DNA tests on the attacker’s remains.

Our Correspondent Mohammad Asghar adds: A hand grenade with a ‘mutual triggering mechanism’ was used by the suicide bomber.

“The grenade was used to activate the high explosives. The attacker was carrying it in his jacket. It was the same mechanism that was used in the Marriott Hotel and Peshawar and Dera Ismail Khan blasts,” informed sources told Dawn.

They said a report on the suicide attack had been sent to the interior ministry.

They said that some pieces of the grenade had also been found by investigators from the site of the blast.

In previous cases, like in F-8 and Aabpara market suicide attacks, a different mechanism called as ‘Striker sleeve’ which is attached to a suicide jacket, had been used, the sources said.

Investigators have been trying to identify the remains of the suicide bomber.

“Left half of the face – believed to be of the bomber – has been found from the site of blast,” a senior security official said, adding that investigators had been trying to re-construct the face.

The investigators had yet to record statements of the injured policemen. However, a policeman who stood near the picket, said in his brief statement that a stranger had approached the picket a few moments before the bombing.

“The stranger, who did not give his name and identification, tried to get into the Golf Road which leads to the Camp Office of the president but was not allowed by policemen. He told them that he wanted to meet Gen Musharraf and belongs to Charat,” the sources quoted the policeman as saying.

The sources said that the man, who had tried his best to get past the police checkpoint but was disallowed, vanished from the place. Shortly afterwards, a man approached the checkpoint on foot and detonated explosives, the source said.

Investigators are trying to establish whether the bomber was the same man who had approached the police checkpoint a few moments before the blast.

Meanwhile, Sidra Bibi, 25, who was seriously injured in the bombing, died in the District Headquarters Hospital early Wednesday morning.

Her mother Kulsoom Perveen had died on Tuesday. The women were in a passenger wagon that veered off the road and crashed into a nearby wall.