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Pakistan: Muslims suicide bomber target Christian colony and courthouse, killing 14


Twin Taliban attacks hit Pakistan: 14 are killed in suicide blast at a courthouse as four bombers are shot dead trying to blow themselves up at a Christian colony

  • 14 killed and 52 injured in suicide bomb attack on court house in Mardan 
  • Four suicide bombers had earlier attacked Christian colony near Peshawar
  • Soldiers backed up by army helicopters exchanged fire with the bombers
  • The attackers, who were wearing suicide vests, were then shot dead

 

At least 14 people were killed and more than 50 wounded after a suicide bomber attacked a court in Pakistani hours after four bombers tried to blow themselves up in a Christian colony.

The bodies of lawyers, police officers and civilians have been recovered from the wreckage at the court building in the city of Mardan in Pakistan’s Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province.

On the same day, gunmen wearing suicide vests stormed a Christian colony near the town of Peshawar, killing one civilian, before being shot dead by soldiers.

Evidence: Pakistani security officers display what is believed to be part of a suicide vest warn by a Taliban fighter after an attack on a Christian colony

An injured blast victim is taken to hospital in Peshawar after a suicide bomb attack at a district court in Mardan

An injured blast victim is taken to hospital in Peshawar after a suicide bomb attack at a district court in Mardan

A school boy cries following a bomb blast targeting a Christian colony in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa provincial capital of Peshawar

A school boy cries following a bomb blast targeting a Christian colony in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa provincial capital of Peshawar.

In Mardan, a bomber shot his way through the main gate leading to the district court, before throwing a hand grenade and detonating his suicide vest among the morning crowds, senior police official Ejaz Khan told reporters.

Rescuers picked their way through scattered human remains and blood-stained office equipment and files to collect survivors, witnesses said.

Amir Hussain, president of the Mardan Bar Association, said he was in a room nearby when the bomb detonated.

‘There was dust everywhere, and people were crying loud with pain,’ he said.

His suit drenched in blood, he added: ‘I started picking up the wounded and putting them in cars to take them to hospital. I did not know if the people I was rescuing were dead or alive.’

Lawyers, policemen and passers-by were among those killed in the attack. An injured man is taken to hospital

Lawyers, policemen and passers-by were among those killed in the attack. An injured man is taken to hospital

Twin attacks have hit Pakistan today after 14 were killed in a suicide blast at a courthouse (pictured) and four Taliban bombers tried to blow themselves up in a Christian colony

Twin attacks have hit Pakistan today after 14 were killed in a suicide blast at a courthouse (pictured) and four Taliban bombers tried to blow themselves up in a Christian colony

Lawyers were being targeted because they are ‘an important part of democracy, and these terrorists are opposed to democracy,’ he said.

‘Our morale is not dented. It is still high,’ he added.

Nasir Khan Durrani, provincial police chief, told AFP the death toll had reached 14, with at least 58 people wounded, three of whom were critical.

Officials said the bomber had up to 8kg of explosives packed into his vest, while the dead included lawyers and police.

Earlier, four suicide bombers who tried to attack a Christian colony were killed in a gunfight with security forces.

Rescuers work at the blast site in Pakistan's northwestern city of Mardan where 14 were killed

Rescuers work at the blast site in Pakistan’s northwestern city of Mardan where 14 were killed

The bodies of lawyers, police officers and civilians have been recovered from the wreckage at the court building in the city of Mardan in Pakistan's Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province

The bodies of lawyers, police officers and civilians have been recovered from the wreckage at the court building in the city of Mardan in Pakistan’s Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province.

Soldiers backed by army helicopters exchanged gunfire with militants in suicide vests who had tried to storm into the colony near Warsak Dam, just north of Peshawar in the northwest of the country.

Ahsanullah Ahsan, a spokesman for Jamaat-ul-Ahrar, a breakaway Taliban faction, claimed responsibility for the attack.

‘Four suicide bombers with arms and ammunition entered the Christian Colony at Warsak after hitting a security guard at 5.50am,’ the Pakistan army said in a statement.

‘Security forces promptly responded and surrounded the area. Exchange of fire took place and all four terrorists were killed,’ it said, adding that two paramilitary soldiers, a policeman and two security guards were wounded in the gunfight.

The ‘situation is under control,’ the statement said, adding that troops were now carrying out a house to house search of the area.

Discrimination and violence against religious minorities is commonplace in Pakistan, where Muslims account for more than 90 percent of the population.

Four suicide bombers who tried to attack a Christian colony in Pakistan have been killed in a brutal gunfight with security forces. Pakistani soldiers cordon off a street leading to the colony

Four suicide bombers who tried to attack a Christian colony in Pakistan have been killed in a brutal gunfight with security forces. Pakistani soldiers cordon off a street leading to the colony

Soldiers backed by army helicopters exchanged gunfire with militants in suicide vests who had tried to storm into the colony near Warsak Dam, just north of Peshawar in the northwest of the country

Soldiers backed by army helicopters exchanged gunfire with militants in suicide vests who had tried to storm into the colony near Warsak Dam, just north of Peshawar in the northwest of the country.

The Pakistani Taliban in particular routinely target minority groups, and in 2011 gunned down Shahbaz Bhatti, a Christian who was federal minister for minority affairs.

A Taliban suicide bomber targeted Christians in a park in the eastern city of Lahore at Easter this year, killing more than 70 people, including many children.

Taliban militants stormed a school in Peshawar in December 2014, killing more than 150 people, mostly children, in Pakistan’s deadliest-ever terror attack.

The army launched an operation in June 2014 in a bid to wipe out militant bases in the tribal areas and so bring an end to the bloody insurgency that has cost thousands of civilian lives since 2004.

 

 

 

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