PESHAWAR: A suspected suicide bomb attack outside the Iranian consulate in Peshawar Monday killed two paramilitary soldiers and wounded ten others, officials said.
The bombing took place in the upmarket University Town area of the city, where many non-government organisations are also based. “We have two bodies of paramilitary soldiers and ten wounded have been admitted to hospital,” said Farhad Khan, a spokesman for Khyber Teaching Hospital where the casualties were taken. A senior police official, Mohammad Ejaz Ahmed, said it appeared to be a suicide bombing.
He said other paramilitary soldiers in the area fired in the air in panic after the bombing. The Pakistani Taliban have carried out such attacks in the past. Earlier this month Pakistan entered into talks with the Taliban aimed at ending their seven-year insurgency. But the militant group continued carrying out attacks on a near-daily basis, and the dialogue was suspended last week after the insurgents claimed they had executed 23 kidnapped soldiers.
Since then the air force has been carrying out attacks in the volatile tribal regions which border Afghanistan, killing dozens. According to reports, the attackers, who came in a car, disembarked near the Iranian consulate and started firing at the guards deputed at the fortified building, killing two of the guards. The security guards retaliated and find upon the attackers. In the meantime one of the attackers blew himself up. University Town ASP Ahsan Saifullah said the vehicle used in the attack has been taken into custody.
The attack was in an area housing offices of foreign diplomatic missions and non-governmental organisations. “It was a suicide blast. A man walked up to the checkpost outside the foreign mission after parking his car nearby. The man blew himself up when he was stopped by security men,” a local police officer told Reuters.
Meanwhile, unidentified attackers on Monday shot dead a senior commander of the Pakistani Taliban who had a government bounty on his head, officials said, with the killing blamed on internal rivalries. Asmatullah Shaheen, who was believed to be in his mid-40s and was a former interim chief of the militant group, had a 10-million-rupee ($95,000) bounty payable for his death. He was ambushed in Dargah Mandi village near Miranshah, the main town in the troubled North Waziristan tribal district.
“Unknown attackers opened fire on Asmatullah Shaheen’s car. He along with three associates died on the spot,” a security official in Miranshah told AFP on condition of anonymity.
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