KARACHI: A bomb blast near a police bus in Karachi killed 13 police officials, and injured at least 57 others, Express News reported on Thursday.
Their funeral prayers were offered later on Thursday at the police centre near Hassan Square.
The explosion took place near the exit of the Razzaqabad Police Training Centre in Shah Latif Town area just as a police bus was leaving the premises. The bus was carrying police commandoes on their way to provide security at Bilawal House.
The Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan accepted responsibility for the attack Thursday evening, calling it an act of revenge.
Suicide car bomb
There were conflicting reports as to whether the explosion was caused by a suicide attack or a remote-controlled bomb blast. “Apparently, it was a suicide car attack as an explosive-laden car hit the police bus transporting officials,” Munir Sheikh, a senior police official had stated earlier today.
Another official, Farooq Awan, who heads a special investigative unit, said the bus was making a U-turn after leaving a training centre when a small van struck it.
On the other hand, Superintendent of Police (SP) Crime Investigation Department (CID) Raja Omar Khattab, while talking to the media, stated that the explosive material was detonated using a remote.
He added that most of the casualties took place because of the ball bearings and the explosive material carried by the van.
Shahid Nadeem Baloch, police chief for Sindh also said that the bomb was remotely detonated.
“We cannot say anything concrete about who was involved in the attack until we get all the evidence collected,” Additional Inspector General (AIG) of Sindh Police Shahid Hayat told the media.
There were more than 50 police officers in the police bus when the incident occurred and it was reported that a few civilians also sustained injuries. The vehicle was completely destroyed in the explosion.
According to initial investigation, a vehicle laden with 15 to 20 kilogrammes of explosives hit the police bus.
Rangers and police have reached the blast site, cordoned off the area and started a search operation.
As a result of the blast there was a traffic jam on National Highway.
Police remain determined
Speaking to the media in Karachi, Sindh Chief Minister Qaim Ali Shah said that the targeted operation in Karachi would continue no matter what happens. He added that the families of the deceased will be compensated with Rs2 million each and the injured will be given Rs0.2 million each.
“Medical treatment of the injured will be done free of cost,” the chief minister told the reporters.
He added that the willpower and the enthusiasm of the police have not diminished and they will continue to work with full determination.
The chief minister also remarked that in the past four months terrorism has decreased.
The attack will not hinder the operation, Sindh Minister for Information and Local Government Sharjeel Inam Memon told the media.
“We are investigating this attack from all angles and who had the most to lose by the forces’ actions and want harm upon them. But the forces will not be demoralised and will work more aggressively,” Memon added.
The TTP spokesperson Shahidullah Shahid said the attack was aimed at taking revenge of Taliban members who had been killed in Karachi, Peshawar and Swabi recently by the police and Rangers.
“Twenty of our members have been killed in fake encounters in a month,” Shahid said in a statement.
Since there is no formal ceasefire, the Taliban will carry out attacks to defend themselves, he added. “We have the right to take such steps.”
He called for immediately taking steps to stop such acts as it is necessary for the success of dialogue process.