At least two persons were killed and 17 injured in a bomb explosion near an Imambargah in the Gulbahar neighbourhood of Peshawar Tuesday night.
The bomb was strapped to a motorcycle which was parked near a Sabeel in Imamia Colony. Imambargah Sakhi Munawar Shah is located nearby. Members of the local Shia community gather near the Sabeel every evening.
The bomb was detonated by a remote control device and its deafening sound was heard within a radius of several kilometres, police said. Nineteen people were wounded in the blast.
They were shifted to the Lady Reading Hospital (LRH) where two of them – identified as Gulshan and Zaheer Abbas – succumbed to their injuries. They were sitting near the Sabeel when the explosion occurred. According to medics, another three injured have life-threatening wounds.
SP City Khalid Hamdani confirmed the casualties. He said the apparent target was the Shia community. “We had security steps in place but the terrorists managed to park the bomb-laden motorcycle near the Imambargah under the cover of darkness,” he told The Express Tribune.
Jaffar Ali, who was also injured in the blast, said he was chatting with friends near the Sabeel when the bomb went off. “I lost consciousness and when I regained my senses I found myself on the hospital bed,” Ali told The Express Tribune.
Another eyewitness Mumtaz Hussain said he saw the blast happening from the rooftop of his house which is adjacent to the Imambargah. “I saw a fireball followed by screams of victims,” he added.
Bomb Disposal Squad (BDS) officials said they have found parts of the motorcycle used in the bomb attack. “It was a medium intensity bomb triggered by a remote control device,” BDS official Abdul Haq told The Express Tribune.
After the blast community members rushed to the LRH to find out if any of their relatives were among the victims. The hospital administration called in extra police force to maintain order.
“I was going to meet a friend who was present near the Imambargah when the blast occurred. I received shrapnel wounds to my left hand, while my friend was seriously injured,” Faqir Hussain said standing outside the Operation Theatre where doctors were performing a surgery on his friend.
Meanwhile in Kurram Agency, the hotbed of Shia-Sunni sectarian strife, at least 14 suspected militants were killed in a security operation on Tuesday.
Security forces were advancing to the Zarah Mela area of Central Kurram when suspected militants challenged them, a security official said. In the ensuing fighting, 14 militants were killed and three of their hideouts were destroyed, he added.
The official said that they have launched an operation to flush out militants from the outlawed Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) who captured the area recently.
The operation in Central Kurram was launched on May 8 after the security forces were informed that TTP militants had captured Gondal, Tabay, Malo Pattai, Darya Sarpakh, Goganay, Aroza, Makhranai Godar in the Para Chamkani area, forcing around 12,000 families to flee their homes and move to Lower Kurram and to Kohat and Hangu districts of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 29th, 2013.