Japanese targeted in Karachi suicide attack

Five foreigners escape unhurt; security guard martyred in shooting

Our Correspondent April 19, 2024
View of a damaged car after a suicide blast in Karachi. PHOTO: Reuters


Five Japanese nationals miraculously remained unhurt in a suicide attack on their Hiace van in Karachi’s Landhi neighbourhood but their private security guard succumbed to his injuries.

The suicide bomber was killed in the attack carried out near Landhi’s Mansehra Colony bus stop and his accomplice shot dead by the Sharafi Goth police as well as the security guards in the van in retaliatory exchange of fire. Another security guard and a bystander -- a fire brigade employee -- suffered injuries because of the other terrorist’s firing.

The suicide bomber has been identified as Sohail Khan, aged around 30 and a resident of Panjgur. The other attacker was aged around 35.

The security guard who lost his life in the attack was identified as 45-year-old Noor Mohammad. Police surgeon Dr Summaiya Syed said he had suffered a bullet wound to the head.

On receiving the information about the attack, the Sharafi Goth police stationed at a nearby filling station reached the scene.

The police said the Japanese nationals were shifted to a safe place.

Three rifles, six grenades, petrol bottles, a big water bottle, and a launcher were found in a bag in the possession of the gunned down terrorist.

The bomb disposal squad defused everything after retrieval, after which they were handed over to the Sharafi Goth police.

The news of the suicide attack on the vehicle of the Japanese nationals spread like wildfire in the city.
Police, Rangers, officers of intelligence agencies and bomb disposal unit reached the scene and sealed it off. The two injured men were rushed to the Jinnah Hospital for medical assistance. The police surgeon said one of them was in a serious condition.

Speaking to the media at the crime scene, Deputy Inspector General East Azfar Mahesar said one of the attackers was wearing a suicide vest.

He added that the second terrorist was killed by police firing.

“The police provide security to foreigners working on CPEC [China-Pakistan Economic Corridor] and other projects and the security guards have also shown great courage in this act of terrorism.”

The police official told the media that the suicide bomber had reached the crime scene on foot.

“We are investigating who were the handlers of the suicide bomber and how he was brought here.”

 Karachi acting police chief Imran Yaqoob Minhas, who was there as well, told the media that the Counter Terrorism Department (CTD) was collecting evidence and looking into the matter.

“It is too early to say anything at this time but the terrorists’ ambitions have been dashed.”

CTD in-charge Raja Umar Khattab said the Japanese nationals were travelling in a convoy of three vehicles.

He added that the accomplice panicked when he saw that the suicide bomber had failed to achieve the objective and started firing.

The suicide bomber’s last call from his cell phone was to tell his accomplices that he was present on Korangi Road.

After receiving orders from his handlers, he chased the van of the Japanese nationals. As soon as their van slowed down on a speed breaker in Mansehra Colony, he blew himself up.

The CCTV footage of the incident has also surfaced in which it could be seen clearly that the bomber attacked after the chase.

Police sources said the dead terrorists had other accomplices, who escaped from the scene and search was under way to arrest them.

A police officer told The Express Tribune on the condition of anonymity that the terrorists were aware of the route of foreigners to an export processing zone, where they worked as engineers, from their residence in Clifton’s Zamzama area.

In Tokyo, Japan's chief cabinet secretary, Yoshimasa Hayashi, told a news conference that one Japanese national was confirmed to have been injured and the government was checking details, having flagged the risk to other citizens in Pakistan.

In statement issued by the PM’s Office, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif condemned the terrorist attack in Karachi and said timely action by the police prevented any major loss of life.

Praying for the recovery of the injured, the premier pledged not to rest until terrorism had been completely eradicated from the country.Police officers survey the site after a suicide blast in Karachi. PHOTO: Reuters

President Asif Ali Zardari also commended the police’s timely action against the terrorists. In a statement, he said that timely action by police prevented major casualties.
(With input from agencies)


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