15 killed in terror attacks in northwest Pakistan | world-news | Hindustan Times
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15 killed in terror attacks in northwest Pakistan

A suicide bombing at a court complex in northwest Pakistan killed 13 people, hours after troops foiled an assault on a Christian colony near Peshawar.

world Updated: Sep 02, 2016 16:24 IST
Imtiaz Ahmad
Pakistani soldiers stand guard at the entrance gateof a Christian colony near Peshawar after it was attacked by suicide bombers on Friday.
Pakistani soldiers stand guard at the entrance gateof a Christian colony near Peshawar after it was attacked by suicide bombers on Friday.(Reuters)

A suicide bombing by the Jamaat-ul-Ahrar at a court complex in northwest Pakistan killed 13 people and injured more than 50 on Friday, hours after troops foiled an assault by the group on a Christian colony near Peshawar by killing four attackers.

The Jamaat-ul-Ahrar, a breakaway faction of the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan that has targeted Christians and the legal community in the past, claimed responsibility for both attacks.

Its spokesman Ehsanullah Ehsan promised more attacks. “We appeal to civilians to remain away from law enforcement installations and these un-Islamic courts. We will target them more,” he told Reuters.

Six lawyers and two policemen were among the 13 people who died at the court complex in Mardan city of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province. A small blast was followed by a bigger explosion, chief rescue officer Haris Habib told the media.

Habib said the civil defence had rescued 52 injured people, including lawyers, police personnel and civilians.

The attacker lobbed a grenade before detonating his explosive vest at the main gate of the court complex, police officials said. They said the suicide bomber had seven to eight kilograms of explosives attached to his body.

Earlier in the day, four terrorists wearing suicide vests were killed during a failed attack on a Christian colony near Warsak dam on the outskirts of Peshawar, the capital of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa.

Pakistani soldiers arrive at a street after suicide bombers attacked a Christian colony near Peshawar on Friday. (Reuters)

A security guard and a resident of the colony were also killed. Two security guards and a police constable were seriously injured in the attack.

The four terrorists tried to enter the Christian colony in Warsak area, where an army air defence unit is also stationed. Security guards and policemen deployed at the gate of the colony exchanged fire with the attackers, who were all killed in the gun battle.

The Jamaat-ul-Ahrar, which briefly declared allegiance to the Islamic State in 2014 but recently said it was no longer affiliated with the group, also carried out the Easter Sunday attack on Christians in a park in Lahore that killed 72 people, including 29 children, and injured more than 300.

Friday’s assault on the court complex in Mardan was the second attack on Pakistan’s legal community in the past few weeks. Last month, a blast in Quetta, the capital of southern Balochistan province, killed more than 70, nearly wiping out the city’s senior lawyers. Both Jamaat-ul-Ahrar and Islamic State had claimed the attack in Quetta.

Observers say the Jamaat-ul-Ahrar has carried out attacks on civilians and security forces in an apparent attempt to boost its profile in the aftermath of a military operation in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA).

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif said Friday’s attacks would “not shatter our unflinching resolve in our war against terrorism”. He said in a statement: “These receding elements are showing frustration by attacking our soft targets. They shall not get space to hide in Pakistan.”