Six troopers killed in Islamabad suicide attack (Third Lead)

April 5th, 2009 - 1:03 am ICT by IANS  

Taliban Islamabad, April 4 (IANS) At least six troopers were killed and 11 injured when a suicide bomber blew himself up in a high-security zone in the heart of the Pakistani capital Saturday evening, apparently targeting security forces near the diplomatic enclave close to the president’s office.
Police officials said the suicide bomber targeted paramilitary Frontier Corps (FC) personnel near the barracks of the Diplomatic Protection Department in the Jinnah Supermarket, nearly four kilometres from President Asif Zardari’s office.

The bomber struck when security personnel were having dinner in a check post near the crowded market, Islamabad Senior Superintendent of Police Tahir Alam said.

Deputy Inspector General Bin Yamin told reporters at the blast site that at least six security personnel were killed and 11 were injured.

TV channels said the blast was followed by loud gun shots and there was an exchange of fire between security forces and militants. One report said some attackers had taken shelter in one of the houses of the F7 neighbourhood, one of Islamabad’s upscale areas.

A TV report said at least eight attackers were holed up in the area.

However, Alam denied any exchange of fire, saying the security men fired in the air to scare away any other attackers. He said no militant was holed up.

Alam told a TV channel that body parts of the suicide bomber were found at the site.

Alam said one attacker was arrested. “We have one suspect in our custody. His interrogation is on,” he said.

President Zardari expressed grief and shock over the loss of lives and injuries in the attack.

He reiterated the resolve to fight terrorism and militancy saying, “Such acts cannot deter the government’s determination to fight terrorism in all its forms and manifestations.”

The attack set off panic among people in the market which was packed with evening shoppers. The police and security forces cordoned off the area causing huge traffic snarls on nearby roads. The cordon was lifted later.

Violence in Pakistan has surged in recent months with a wave of attacks blamed on Islamist militants.

The latest attack comes five days after the March 30 terror assault on the Manawan police academy on Lahore’s outskirts when heavily armed militants held over 400 trainees hostage for over eight hours before Pakistani security forces recaptured the complex.

At least 18 people, including two civilians, eight policemen and eight militants, were killed and 95 injured in the terror attack owned up by Taliban leader Baitullah Mehsud.

Mehsud vowed in a telephone interview with reporters early this week to carry out an attack in Islamabad, as well as in the US, in retaliation for American missile strikes by Predator drone aircraft in the Pashtun ethnic belt of western Pakistan, near the Afghan border.

Last month, eight people, including policemen, were killed and several were injured when terrorists ambushed Sri Lankan cricketers in Lahore.

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