Six people, among them a senior police official, were killed and over a dozen wounded in two terrorist attacks targeting the police in Peshawar on Monday.
A suicide bomber detonated the explosives strapped to his body near the vehicle of Abdur Rashid Khan, the Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP) Saddar Circle, on Kohat Road, police official Ejaz Ahmed told The Express Tribune.
“The bomber was a teenager, he came on foot and blew himself up near the police van,” he said. Ahmed confirmed that DSP Khan, one of his gunmen and driver and two civilians died in the attack.
He revealed that they had intelligence reports about possible attacks on the police. But they had no idea as to who would be targeted.
Medics at the Lady Reading Hospital (LRH) confirmed to have received 11 casualties, including five dead bodies. The injured, including the DSP’s gunman Gul Khan, are being treated at the hospital.
“The bomber struck near our van on the Ring Road flyover on Kohat Road,” Gul told The Express Tribune from his hospital bed. “Some people travelling in a car behind our van were also wounded,” he added.
In the second attack, a police patrol van was targeted with a homemade bomb in the Pishtakhara neighbourhood of Peshawar. One policeman was killed and eight people received injuries in the attack.
Police said the attack happened near Achini Bala village and around four kilograms of explosives were used in the device.
It was the first suicide attack in the provincial capital this year. Dozens of senior police officials have been killed in suicide attacks since the start of a deadly insurgency in the region.
The outlawed Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) claimed responsibility for the suicide attack. “We have already announced that we will target police and security forces,” TTP spokesman Azam Tariq said in a telephone call to AFP from an undisclosed location.
Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Senior Minister Bashir Bilour said militants were “targeting police to pressure and dishearten them”.
But he told reporters such attacks would not weaken the government’s commitment to combat militancy. “We will continue our fight against terrorism. We will not be deterred, it will only strengthen our resolve to eliminate terrorists,” he added.
Additional input from AFP
Published in The Express Tribune, February 1st, 2011.