17 killed in Ko­hat sui­cide at­tack

The Pak Banker - - Front Page -

KO­HAT: A teenage sui­cide bomber killed 17 peo­ple at a busy Pak­istani bus ter­mi­nal on Wed­nes­day, the third at­tack in three days as the coun­try stepped up se­cu­rity for the holy month of Muhar­ram.

The bomber blew him­self up in Ko­hat, home to at least half a mil­lion peo­ple and one of the main gar­risons for the Pak­istan mil­i­tary, in the north­west­ern prov­ince of Khy­ber Pakhtunkhwa.

About 4000 peo­ple have died in sui­cide and bomb attacks across Pak­istan since govern­ment forces raided an ex­trem­ist mosque in Is­lam­abad in 2007. The attacks have been blamed on net­works linked to the Tal­iban and al-Qaeda. The north­west has been par­tic­u­larly hard hit. Pak­istan last year fought to wrest back con­trol of the north­west­ern district of Swat from the Tal­iban and are fight­ing against home­grown in­sur­gents along the Afghan border. "It was a sui­cide blast. The death toll has risen to 17," Ko­hat po­lice chief Di­lawar Ban­gash told AFP, adding that 25 oth­ers were wounded, seven of them se­ri­ously.

Po­lice said the bomber blew him­self up at the door of a bus car­ry­ing pas­sen­gers to the nearby tribal district of Orakzai, where Pak­istan has en­cour­aged dis­placed civil­ians to re­turn af­ter an anti-Tal­iban of­fen­sive.

"We have found the head and legs of the sui­cide bomber," said Ban­gash. The bus ter­mi­nal is in Ti­rah bazaar, the main mar­ket in the town.

The at­tack co­in­cided with the start of Muhar­ram, which tra­di­tion­ally sees ten­sions rise be­tween Pak­istan's ma­jor­ity Sunni Mus­lim and mi­nor­ity Shi'ite Mus­lim com­mu­nity, and attacks on Shi'ite re­li­gious pa­rades. "It is true there were more Shi'ites killed in the at­tack, but there were a num­ber of Sun­nis also who died in the blast. So we can­not say who was the tar­get," said Ban­gash, adding the sui­cide bomber was aged 15 to 16. On Mon­day, a pair of sui­cide bombers killed 43 peo­ple, at­tack­ing an­tiTal­iban mili­ti­a­men and pro­gov­ern­ment el­ders in Mohmand, part of the tribal belt that Washington con­sid­ers the global hub of al-Qaeda. The Pak­istani Tal­iban pur­port­edly claimed re­spon­si­bil­ity for that at­tack, threat­en­ing death to any­one who forms mili­tias against the Is­lamists. On Tues­day, a sui­cide bomber tried to as­sas­si­nate CM of Pak­istan's south­west­ern prov­ince of Balochis­tan, dam­ag­ing his mo­tor­cade and wound­ing nine peo­ple, but leav­ing the min­is­ter un­hurt. A pur­ported spokesman for banned ex­trem­ist group Lashkar-eJhangvi claimed re­spon­si­bil­ity, say­ing the of­fi­cial had been tar­geted for ef­forts to pro­vide se­cu­rity to Shi'ite Mus­lims, who are fre­quently at­tacked in Balochis­tan. - PB News

ANKARA: Prime Min­is­ter Syed Yusuf Raza Gi­lani ad­dress­ing joint press con­fer­ence with Turk­ish Prime Min­is­ter H.E. Re­cep Tayyip Er­do­gan. -App

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