10 killed in two blasts in Pakistan

October 9th, 2008 - 7:49 pm ICT by IANS  

Islamabad, Oct 9 (IANS) At least 10 people were killed and 21 injured in two bomb blasts in Islamabad and in Dir near Peshawar in the North West Frontier Province (NWFP) Thursday, officials said.The incidents occurred when an in-camera session of a joint sitting of both houses of parliament was under way in the capital amid tight security. The army generals are briefing the MPs on their operations against terrorists and the war on terror.

Reports say that in Dir, a remote controlled bomb that was planted on the road exploded when a van was passing, ferrying prisoners back to jail after a hearing in a local court.

The police in Dir said a group of schoolgirls was also passing by at the time of the incident.

The explosion killed four schoolgirls, two other passers-by, a policeman and three prisoners, while about 15 others were injured in the attack.

District coordinator Sher Bahuder said the number of dead may increase as five of the injured were in serious condition.

In Islamabad, six people were injured as an explosives-laden car blew up near a residential building of the Anti-Terrorist Squad (ATS) at the police headquarters, police said.

The blast badly damaged the three-storey residential building reserved for the squad but no one was inside at the time of the attack. The block is situated about 300 metres from the main headquarter building.

“Six people present near the building were injured,” said Sub Inspector Liaqat Ali, who was present at the headquarters at the time of the blast.

He added that the car carrying the explosives was white. No dead body was found in the car or near it, leading police to believe that the explosion was triggered by a remote control.

“The car entered the area after thorough a check up. The driver said he had some gifts for the in-charge of the police headquarters,” another police official said.

“No one posted at the gate suspected that the sweet boxes were filled with explosives. The entry pass was issued to the driver after his ID card was checked,” he added.

He said the driver must have managed to leave the area before the blast as all entry and exit points were sealed soon after the incident.

The explosion was heard more than 10 km away. Residents of the neighbourhood said that they saw smoke coming out of the police headquarters that is located near two main universities and three hospitals.

The blast occurred even as a joint session of the parliament was being briefed by senior military officials on the measures taken to counter terrorism. Due to the high-level meeting, surveillance helicopters had been flying over the capital.

Last month, a suicide bomber drove an explosives-laden truck into Islamabad’s Marriott hotel. At least 55 people, including the Czech ambassador, two US marines and a Danish intelligence officer, were killed in the attack.

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