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Judges van attacked in Peshawer

16 February, 2017

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PESHAWAR: The driver of a government vehicle was killed while at least seven people - including four women - were injured when a suicide bomber drove a motorcycle into a van carrying several judges in the Hayatabad area of Peshawar on Wednesday.

It was one of three attacks - involving four suicide bombers - in the country in a single day, unnerving citizens whose growing sense of security has been shaken by multiple Taliban blasts this week.

Earlier in the day, at least five people, including three Levies personnel, were killed in Ghalanai, Mohmand Agency, when a suicide attacker blew himself up at the entrance of a residential colony.

As per the details of the Hayatabad attack, the deceased driver was identified as Khurshid Khan, while the injured included civil judges Asif Jadoon and Tehreema. Three other women - Rabia Abbasi, Saima and Zarmala - were also on board the van when it was struck by the attacker at around 1:40pm.

The incident took place near the Peshawar Development Authority (PDA) building, hardly a kilometre and a half away from the Hayatabad Medical Complex (HMC) where Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Chief Minister Pervez Khan Khattak were about to inaugurate new health facilities - the Sehat Sahulat Card and a recently renovated outpatient department (OPD) - at 3pm.

Soon after the attack, officials from the nearby Tatara Police Station cordoned off the area as the bomb disposal squad and Rescue 1122 personnel arrived at the scene.

According to officials, at least 15 kilogrammes of explosive material was used in the attack.

The injured were shifted to the HMC, where Asif Jadoon, Tehreema and other victims were said to be out of danger. The ceremony at the HMC and Imran Khan's press conference at the Peshawar Press Club had to be cancelled for security reasons.

The PTI chief strongly condemned the attack, which was conducted by the Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP).

CM Khattak and KP Governor Iqbal Zafar Jhagra also condemned the attack on the judges and instructed the authorities concerned to complete the investigation process as soon as possible.

According to Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) Sajjad Khan, the bomber targeted civil judge Asif Jadoon's vehicle as he was travelling on the van along with other staff members in Hayatabad's Phase 5.

Meanwhile, at least five persons, including three Levies personnel were killed in Ghalanai area of Mohmand Agency when a suicide attacker blew himself up at the entrance of a residential colony.

According to the political administration, the attacker tried to force his entry into the colony but was spotted by the Levies personnel. The attacker blew himself up before he could be taken down by the security forces.

The forces were successful in foiling the attack, as a second attacker was shot dead by the forces before he could get inside the colony and attempt to wreck havoc inside.

The Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) in a statement stated two suicide bombers from Afghanistan were involved in the "foiled" terror bid.

Jamaat-ul-Ahrar, a splinter group of the TTP, claimed responsibility for the attack in Mohmand Agency.

Meanwhile, security forces claimed to have killed five terrorists following the suicide blast in Ghalanai.

Soon after the attack, the forces launched a search operation in the area and killed five more would-be suicide bombers as they were trying to escape.

Security forces said that a facilitator of the terrorists was also arrested from the nearby area of Ghalanai Bazaar. The would-be suicide bombers were reportedly staying at the guesthouse of the arrested person.

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