Four dead in Peshawar as militants battle with security forces in suspected attempt to break cohorts free from jail
A suicide bomber blew himself up in a courtroom in the north-westPakistani city of Peshawar, killing four people and wounding more than 40 others, officials said.
Two militants attacked the back of the court compound and were confronted by three police guards, according to police officer Masood Afridi. The militants shot and wounded the policemen, but not before one of the guards killed one of the suicide bombers.
The other bomber managed to get into the courtroom and detonated his explosives, said Afridi.
Four people were killed and 47 wounded in the attack, said Habib Arif, a senior government official in Peshawar. Twenty of the wounded were discharged from the hospital after receiving first aid, while 27 remained under treatment, said Arif.
The female judge who was presiding over the session inside the courtroom that was attacked was among the wounded, said a police officer, Mohammad Arshad Khan.
Naeem Ullah was standing outside the courtroom when the bomber blew himself up. The blast “caused all of the glass in the windows to break, and I was wounded in my leg and back”, said Ullah. He spoke while receiving treatment at a local hospital.
The attackers may have been trying to free militant colleagues jailed on the premises of the compound, said Mian Iftikhar Hussain, the information minister for Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, where Peshawar is the provincial capital.
Hussain initially suggested the attackers may have taken hostages, but later said the situation was under control.
TV footage showed people running for safety, including wounded people being assisted by others. They included two police officers, a lawyer and other civilians, including one man whose clothes had been torn to shreds. Police commandos and army soldiers rushed toward the complex as the wounded were shifted to stretchers and taken to the hospital.
No group has yet claimed responsibility for the attack.
Elsewhere, in the southern port city of Karachi paramilitary forces arrested a militant leader who was involved in the kidnapping and murder of Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl in 2002, said two paramilitary officials speaking on condition of anonymity.
Qari Abdul Hayee, a former leader of the Lashkar-e-Jhangvi militant group in southern Sindh province, was detained on Sunday in Karachi, according to the officials. He also went by the name Asadullah and was involved in other attacks in Karachi, they said.