ISLAMABAD/ CHARSADDA: At least seven people, including a lawyer were killed and 21 others injured as a sessions court in Charsadda was hit by multiple suicide bombers Tuesday morning.
Attackers attempted to enter the court premises through the main gate, witnesses said, adding they opened fire and also threw hand grenades, prompting retaliatory fire by police and security forces deployed at the court premises.
One bomber was briefly on the loose inside the busy complex in the Tangi area of Charsadda district but was killed by police some 20 minutes after the attack began, officials said.
A second bomber was shot dead by security forces and a third died when he detonated his vest outside the main gates of the facility in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, according to police.
5 injured in IED blasts outside Charsadda court
"So far seven people have been killed and 15 wounded," Sohail Khalid, district police chief, said. The death toll was also confirmed by K-P Information Minister Mushtaq Ghani.
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif's office condemned the latest assault.
"We are a steadfast nation and will not be deterred by such attacks. Our government will continue to fight against terrorist elements and we will succeed," a statement said.
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"Bomb disposal experts told us that each bomber was wearing seven to eight kilogrammes of explosives," Khalid told reporters.
The bodies and injured were shifted to Charsadda Tangi Hospital and Lady Reading Hospital in Peshawar.
Town resident Mohammad Shah Baz told Reuters he was inside the judicial complex when the suicide bombers stormed it. "I escaped towards the canteen and climbed the wall to save my life. But there were many people dead and injured," he said.
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Army chief lauds security forces
Army chief general Qamar javed Bajwa lauded response by security forces to Charsadda explosions, saying "first tier police response saved many lives."
#COAS lauds security forces' response to Charsada Blast. First tier Police response has saved many lives. Shares grief on loss of lives.— DG ISPR (@OfficialDGISPR) February 21, 2017
Pakistan has been hit by a series of suicide bomb attacks in recent days, claiming more than 100 lives.
At least 88 people were killed when a suicide bomber blew himself up at the Lal Shahbaz Qalandar shrine in Sindh’s Sehwan town last week. In response, Pakistan launched a security crackdown, killing over 100 militants.
TTP-JA claims responsibility
The proscribed Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP)'s faction Jamaatul Ahrar (JA) claimed responsibility for the attack. "We claim responsibility for the attack, which is part of our Ghazi operation," the group's spokesperson Asad Mansoor said in a phone call to the media.
TIMELINE: Major terror attacks on legal fraternity across Pakistan