At least 11 people were killed and 15 others injured when a remote-controlled bomb ripped through a crowded market in Risalpur, a town in Nowshera district, on Thursday night.
The blast took place just outside a restaurant in the market, a police official said. The restaurant was close to Risalpur Chowk, within the limit of the town’s Cantonment. The police official told The Express Tribune that the remote-controlled device was attached to a bicycle. One of the injured was a policeman, said the official, adding that the casualty count may rise.
Nowshera police chief Akhtar Ali confirmed at least 10 fatalities and 15 people injured. He added that the bomb likely contained up to 10 kilogrammes of explosives. Police cordoned off the area after the blast. The injured were taken to hospitals in Nowshera and Peshawar.
The blast took place at Decent Restaurant and Fast Food, an establishment frequented by the people of the city for refreshments after iftar. Locals said the restaurant was also often visited by military personnel stationed at nearby bases.
Risalpur, a town of around 20,000 people, is home to the Pakistan Air Force Academy, the Military College of Engineering, the Pakistan Army Engineers Centre and the Military Engineering Services School.
Ali said that a large number of people were present at the site, when the blast took place at around 8:30 pm. At the time of the attack, there were a few police personnel at the restaurant, according to sources.
Nowshera, a city heavily dominated by military establishments, is just seven kilometres away and has been the target of Taliban militants in recent years.
Earlier this year, in June, a suicide attack on an army-run bakery killed more than 20 people and injured dozens of others in the Nowshera Cantonment.
Risalpur itself, however, had not been targeted before in a fatal attack. The only attack before this was on November 9, 2007, when three rocket-propelled grenades were fired by unidentified militants but landed in places that did not cause any damage to human life.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 26th, 2011.