Taliban militants detonated a homemade bomb outside a paramilitary Rangers complex in the Korangi neighbourhood of the city Wednesday evening, killing at least four troops and wounding another five.
The outlawed Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) claimed responsibility for the bomb attack that took place at a stone’s throw from the 43 Wing Headquarters of Bhittai Rangers in Korangi No. 5.
“It was a remotely triggered bomb and the target was a Rangers patrol truck,” DIG District East Captain (retd) Tahir Naveed told The Express Tribune. The blast took place as the Rangers patrol truck drove into the complex. “It appears that the militants had done proper reconnaissance of the area for the attack,” he added.
The targeted truck and another Rangers patrol van were damaged in the explosion. Windowpanes of several nearby buildings were smashed by the shockwave of the blast.
The casualties were taken to the Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Centre (JPMC) where medics confirmed the fatalities. “We received three bodies and six injured Rangers troops – one of them succumbed to his injuries during treatment,” said Dr Seemin Jamali, the head of JPMC’s emergency department.
A spokesman for the Rangers also confirmed the casualties. “Seven soldiers were wounded, four of them embraced martyrdom,” he said.
The dead troops were identified as Amanat Ali, 40, Majid, 30, Saifullah, 35 and Irfan, 40. The injured – identified as Hidayat Ali, Imran, Sarwar, Hayat and Sahib – have been admitted to the hospital for treatment. One of them, according to Dr Jamali, is in critical condition.
Following the blast, Rangers troops, police and intelligence officials threw a security cordon around the area and mediapersons were not allowed near the site.
According to the Bomb Disposal Squad (BDS), the explosion was caused by an improvised explosive device (IED) weighing one-and-a-half-kilogrammes. “Ball bearings and nuts and bolts were also used in the device to inflict maximum casualties,” a BDS official told The Express Tribune. He also confirmed that it was remotely detonated.
The Taliban insurgents have a strong presence in areas like Gulshan-e-Bunair and Sherpao Colony which are situated near the Rangers Headquarters. Police and Rangers have arrested several TTP militants and sectarian extremists in raids from these areas.
TTP spokesperson Ehsanullah Ehsan claimed that his group carried out the attack.
“We claim responsibility for the attack on the Rangers in Karachi,” he told The Express Tribune by the telephone. “We targeted the security forces because they are working for a secular system,” he said, threatened that the group would stage more attacks.
The Rangers spokesperson, however, said that they were also investigating the attack from different angles.
“Although the TTP has claimed responsibility – but we suspect that other banned extremist groups could be involved,” the Rangers spokesperson said. “We are not ruling out the involvement of militants from some political party,” he said.
He said the paramilitary force has stepped up its targeted operations against members of banned outfits, target killers, gangsters and anti-social elements. “Perhaps they wanted to deter us by mounting such attacks,” he added.
Published in The Express Tribune, April 4th, 2013.
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