Belfast Telegraph

Monday 22 September 2014

Five police killed by suicide bomb

Volunteers search for victims after the suicide bombing in Peshawar (AP)
Volunteers search the rubble after the attack in Peshawar (AP)
Volunteers search for victims in the debris (AP)

A suicide bomber in a pick-up truck filled with explosives has attacked a police building in north-west Pakistan, killing five police officers and wounding at least 30 other people in the latest round of bloodshed to hit the country since the US raid which killed Osama bin Laden.

The Pakistani Taliban claimed responsibility for the early-morning strike in Peshawar, and promised more attacks as they and other al Qaida-affiliated groups seek to avenge the leader's death.

Already this month, the Pakistani Taliban has claimed three other revenge attacks, including a deadly 18-hour siege of a naval base.

The bomber's target appeared to be the police's criminal investigation department, but the building was also an army base and several military facilities are also nearby, said Liaquat Ali Khan, a senior police official in Peshawar.

Investigators with the police counter-terrorism unit were stationed at the centre, said Fayaz Khan Toru, the top police official in north-western Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province.

Police officer Mohammad Zahid was in the basement of the building when the bomb went off.

"I felt like the sky fell on me," he said in hospital, where he was being treated for multiple injuries. "The explosion jammed the door of my room in the basement, but there was a small hole in the wall so I crawled through that. When I got outside, there was lots of dust and smoke."

At least five police officers died, and 30 people were wounded, police official Jalal Khan said. Military forces quickly sealed off much of the area as machines were brought in to sift through the huge piles of rubble left at the site of what was once a multistorey building.

The Pakistani Taliban, while hostile to the United States, also despise the Pakistani government and security forces for co-operating with Washington since the September 11 2001 attacks. The group has carried out numerous attacks on Pakistan's security establishment over the years.

Taliban spokesman Ahsanullah Ahsan said future attacks would also target Pakistan's president, prime minister and army chief, but he said the militants would not assault the country's nuclear installations because "Pakistan is the only Muslim nuclear power state".

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