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Twin suicide attacks in Pakistan leave 16 dead

Source: PTI
Last updated on: October 09, 2008 20:35 IST
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Weeks after carrying out a bloody suicide bombing in the heart of Pakistan's capital, suspected militants struck again on a high security police complex in Islamabad and also hit a jail van in North West Frontier Province, killing 16 and injuring ten.

The casualties were less in the police lines complex attack in Islamabad as the suicide bomber struck the Anti Terrorism Squad office when most of the security personnel were out on patrol in view of the joint session of the Parliament reviewing strategy to combat the upsurge in violence.

Though initial reports had put the casualty figure at eight killed, the Islamabad chief commissioner Kamran Lashari later said ten people were injured.

Confusion prevailed as officials did not know the whereabouts of a police commando team which had left the building minutes before the blast. But, police officials said the casualty figure was clarified when the team returned.

There was also confusion over how the attack was carried out. Some reports said a suicide bomber rammed an explosive-laden vehicle into the building, while others said a man carrying boxes of sweets came out of the car and entered the ATS office shortly before the blast occurred.

Officials said they had found a letter in Pashto at the blast site warning more such attacks would be carried out if the Pakistan government does not stop supporting the war on terror.

The attack follows the deadly September 20 suicide blast on the five-star Marriott hotel that claimed nearly 60 lives. The Marriott was considered popular among foreigners.

In the Dir Bala area of North West Frontier Province, 16 people, including four children and four policemen, were killed and several others were injured when a roadside bomb went off while a prison van and a school bus were passing by.

The van was bringing prisoners from a court to jail when it was attacked with a remote-controlled bomb, state-run PTV reported, adding a school bus passing through the area was also hit by the blast.

No group claimed responsibility for the attack.

The people in Dir district had recently formed a 'lashkar' or militia to protect themselves against the local Taliban, forcing militants to leave the area.

Meanwhile, Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari and Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani condemned the attack on the ATS office. In a message, Zardari said such incidents would not deter the government's resolve to fight terrorism.

Gilani directed law enforcement agencies to further strengthen security in all important cities, particularly the federal capital, and to initiate an immediate inquiry so that the perpetrators could be brought to book.

The Islamabad Police headquarters and the National Police Academy are located within the Police Lines. The area also houses the International Islamic University, a government hospital and one of the city's largest fruit and vegetable markets.

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