Taliban have denied carrying out Saturday’s twin blasts in Peshawar for which the death toll has risen to 36.
“We did not carry out this attack in Peshawar. It is an attempt by foreign secret agencies who are doing it to malign us,” a Tehreek-e-Taliban spokesperson, who identified himself as Ehsanullah Ehsan, told AFP on telephone.
“We do not target innocent people. Our targets are very clear, we attack security forces, government and people who are siding with it,” he said.
Of the 108 people injured, 47 are still in hopsital, SSP, Operations, Peshawar Ijaz Khan told The Express Tribune. He said that almost all bodies except three have been dispatched to their respective areas for burial.
Meanwhile, medics at the Lady Reading Hospital (LRH) confirmed 33 fatalities of the blast. One of the dead had not been indentified as yet, hospital staff said. Most of the dead were young students who lived in the area.
The place of attack, Khyber supermarket was deserted on Sunday. Many of the residents, majority of who are students, left for their family homes. The area, still cordoned off, was visited by a large number of residents trying to take a glimpse of the site.
A police official at the site told The Express Tribune that they had information about the attack. He said the police had planned a search operation in the area, which was agreed upon after high-level meetings, adding that the operation was delayed due to the budget session of the assembly. However, he said that a full-scale search operation will be carried out in the area.
A Bomb Disposal Unit official told The Express Tribune that the first blast took place inside the restaurant. He said that the second bombing was carried out “four or five minutes after the first one” by a suicide bomber on a motorcycle. He said that police has recovered the bomber’s body parts.
Funeral prayers for journalist Asfandyar Khan were offered in Nasirpur, Chamkani. Injured journalists, including Dunya TV Bureau chief Safiullah Gul and Khyber TV cameraman Hashim Ali, are said to be in stable condition. Barkatullah Marwat of The News also sustained a minor injury in this blast.
Published in The Express Tribune, June 13th, 2011.