ISLAMABAD: Police shot dead a suspected suicide bomber who ran towards a checkpoint on the outer ring of the city on Sunday night.
Police said a double-cabin 4×4 vehicle had dropped off the man who charged towards the checkpoint near Saddam Chowk on the Margalla Road near the intersection of Sectors E-11 and F-11. He was shouting Allah-o-Akbar and appeared to be wearing a suicide jacket.
Police believed he was a suicide bomber whose handlers wanted him to hit a ‘soft target’ after failing to take him to their real target in the capital.
An eyewitness said he had seen the man’s bullet-riddled body lying on the road.
While police claimed to have killed a terrorist who might have been brought to the city for a major attack, they acknowledged that the double cabin 4X4 vehicle which had two other occupants managed to escape despite the presence of a police squad at the checkpost.
Deputy Inspector General of Police (operation) Bani Amin told this correspondent that the black vehicle with tinted glasses had come to Sadam Chowk on the exit lane of Margalla Road at around 10pm from F-10.
The man got down from the vehicle and rushed towards the checkpost at the entry lane of Margalla Raod. The vehicle moved towards Golra.
A policeman fired a burst with his submachine gun hitting the man in the head and face.
The DIG said the man died on the spot. Luckily, he added, the bullets damaged his brain and he did not get time to detonate the explosives in the jacket he was wearing.
He said that the man appeared to be an Afghan in his mid-20s. He received six bullets in his head and face, he added.
The DIG said that the jacket carrying over eight kilograms of explosives stacked with bullets and pellets.
He said that the capital was on high alert on Sunday because of reports about serious threats.
The reports, he said, indicated that the terrorists might attack in capital and a double-cabin vehicle could be used for the purpose.
The DIG said that seven police personnel had been deployed at the checkpost and the terrorist tried to attack them after having failed to enter the main city.
The DIG said that a suicide bomber wearing an explosive jacket was bound to detonate it; failing to reach the prime target, he would go for a soft target.
IG Islamabad Kaleem Imam told Dawn News that the man had been taken out by a sharpshooter.
But knowledgeable circles here have raised some questions about the police claim.
At most of the checkpoints in Islamabad at least one policeman is armed with an AK-47 automatic rifle, but hardly anyone has seen a ‘sharpshooter’ at any of the posts.