Taliban unleash further terror in PakistanMay 29th, 2009 - 1:28 am ICT by IANS
Islamabad, May 29 (DPA) Suspected Taliban militants unleashed further terror in Pakistan’s North West Frontier Province (NWFP) Thursday, killing 15 people, including six security personnel, and wounding more than 100 in three bomb attacks, officials said.
Two back-to-back blasts ripped through a busy street in Peshawar, the capital of NWFP, followed by a shoot-out with police.
The Peshawar explosions came a day after a suicide attack on police and intelligence agency offices in the eastern city of Lahore killed 24 people and wounded more than 250.
Pakistani Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack, terming it a response to the ongoing military operation in northwestern Swat district, where an offensive was launched early this month when the Taliban failed to abide by the terms of a peace deal.
The bombs in Thursday’s carnage were planted in a car and a motorbike parked in Peshawar’s Qissa Khwani Bazaar, located in the old city. Several vehicles and dozens of shops caught fire.
“Six people have been confirmed dead and more than 70 others are injured in the deadly blasts,” the city’s top civil administrator Sahibzada Mohammad Anees told DPA over telephone.
He said the death toll might rise as at least five of the wounded were in critical condition.
“Thank God, two terrorists have been killed and two are arrested,” city police chief Sifwat Ghyyur told reporters. He was seen as leading the operation and carrying an AK-47 assault rifle.
The NWFP police chief, Malik Naveed, said the operation was carried out after a traffic constable reported that two suspects were seen fleeing immediately after the blast. “The two arrested terrorists are injured,” he added.
Express television quoted police sources as saying the attackers had held a teenager hostage, using him as a human shield.
The teenager, believed to be between 14 and 15 years, was shot in the chest during the exchange of fire between the suspects and police. Naveed, however, denied the report.
Television footage showed flames and black smoke rising from the scene and firefighters trying to put out the fire.
Around 20 km west of the city, a suburb neighbourhood called Matni, two suicide bombers rammed a four-wheel drive vehicle into a police van near a security check post.
Two paramilitary soldiers were killed and 10 people, including some policemen were injured. The charred bodies of the suspected suicide bombers were also found on the scene, Anees said.
An intelligence official who spoke on condition of anonymity said a major terrorist action was averted because the terrorists, who had been heading towards Peshawar city, happened to have been challenged by the security personnel at the post.
“Had they entered with 140 kilograms explosives that we estimate they had in their vehicle, it could have been major destruction,” added the official.
Separately, in Dera Ismail Khan, another district of the NWFP, which is located some 300 km south of Peshawar, five people, including three policemen, died and eight were wounded when a bomb planted in a three wheeler Rickshaw parked near a police cordon.
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