PESHAWAR: At least 19 people were killed and 50 wounded when a suicide bomber struck the district judicial complex on Thursday morning, city administration officials and doctors said.
‘The bomber was on foot and tried to get into the Judicial Complex through its main entry gate. He blew himself up, when he was stopped,’ deputy coordination officer, Peshawar, Sahibzada Mohammad Anis said.
A doctor at the city’s main Lady Reading Hospital put the death toll at seventeen. Amongst those killed were the three policemen who tried to stop the bomber from getting in, Anis said.
The doctor said that six of those wounded were in critical condition.
‘We are looking after them,’ director of the casualty ward, Dr. Shiraz Qayyum said.
The limbs of the bombers and those in close vicinity were scattered all around. Cars and three-wheeler rickshaws parked alongside the outer boundary wall on the main Fakhr-i-Alam road were badly damaged in the blast.
The complex comprises district civil and criminal courts and government departments.
Security has been high at the complex frequented by thousands of people besides lawyers, judicial staff and government employees.
Police said they had intelligence of a possible attack on the complex. The four-storey judicial complex is located just across the sprawling residence of Corps Commander, Peshawar and the now-shut down luxury Pearl Continental Hotel, Peshawar, also hit by suicide bombing in June last that killed 11 people and wounded another 50.
‘I was climbing down the stairs in the complex, when shrapnel from the blast flew just over my head. I was shaken by the blast,’ a court employee said.
‘One of my colleagues was taken to the hospital and now we hear that he has died,’ Shuja’t Ali Khan said.
Peshawar, the capital of the North-West Frontier Province, has borne the major brunt of terrorist attacks since the deadly bombing in a busy shopping area on October 28 that left 121 people dead.
Chief Minister NWFP, Ameer Haider Khan vowed to continue the fight against terrorism but warned that Thursday’s bombing would not be the last one.
‘This is not going to be the last bombing,’ Mr. Hoti warned.
A senior minister in his cabinet said the government would not succumb to pressure from militants’ bombings and would not negotiate with them.
‘We will not negotiate with these animals,’ Bashir Ahmad Bilour said.
A total of 185 people have died in terrorist attacks since then including the latest bombing at the Judicial Complex.