PESHAWAR: At least one person was killed while 17 others injured as a result of a blast outside a government office building in Mardan district of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) on Tuesday, police officials said.
According to initial reports, a suspected suicide bomber was trying to enter the office of Mardan Excise and Taxation Department, however, he was intercepted by a security official which prompted him to blow himself up, causing injuries to several people.
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Police cordoned off the area and rushed the injured to the city's district headquarters hospital.
Shahid Khan, a senior local police official, told AFP: "It was a suicide attack, the target was the office of Excise and Taxation. "All eight injured people have been taken to hospital, two of them are critical."
Faisal Shahzad, district police officer, confirmed the toll and said the bomber arrived at the office on foot and opened fire with a gun before detonating his explosives vest at the gate of the office. "Eight to ten kilogrammes of explosive were used," he said, adding the bomber had been talking on a cellphone before the blast.
TTP claims responsibility
Jamaatul Ahrar, a breakaway faction of the proscribed Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), claimed responsibility for the attack.
In his telephonic message to media, group’s spokesperson Ehsanullah Ehsan said: “we have carried out the attack.” The spokesperson further claimed killing of a security official in Bajaur Agency.
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The TTP and other extremist groups regularly target military and civilian installations as part of an insurgency, which has claimed tens of thousands of lives since it began in 2004.
Tuesday's attack comes weeks after a Taliban suicide bomber targeted Gulshan-e-Iqbal Park in Lahore at Easter, killing more than 70 people, including many children.
In December last year, a suicide attack at a Nadra office in Mardan had claimed lives of as many as 26 people while injuring dozens more. A splinter group of the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), Jamatul Ahrar, claimed responsibility for the attack. The blast occurred at a time when scores of people were lining up to have their CNICs made.
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Over 27,000 civilians and security forces personnel have died in terror attacks across the country since 2004, according to the South Asia Terrorism Portal.