Suicide attacks rock Pakistan
34 Killed In Rawalpindi, 15 Hurt In Lahore
INDO ASIAN NEWS SERVICE
Rawalpindi/Lahore, Nov 2: At least 34 persons were killed Monday when a suicide bomber riding a motorcycle triggered a powerful explosion close to a luxury hotel and a bank in Rawalpindi, while two suicide bombers blew themselves up when their car was stopped by policemen on the outskirts of Lahore, wounding at least 15 persons.
At least 34 people were killed and 32 wounded in the suicide explosion in Rawalpindi cantonment area, the Geo TV quoted spokesman of Rescue 1122 as saying. The blast occurred barely 500 metres from the Pakistani army headquarters, which had come under Taliban attack last month. “The suicide bomber came on a motorcycle and blew himself up when people had queued up at the bank to collect their salaries. We found parts of a suicide vest and some body parts of the attacker,” the senior police official Aslam Tarin told reporters.
The blast rocked Shalimar Hotel behind Pearl Continental Hotel, located on Mall Road in the cantonment area of Rawalpindi. Most victims were reported to be security forces personnel. Sajid Khan, a witness, told media persons that he was driving through the area when he heard the explosion.
“It was a huge blast. It was close to the General Post Office Chowk (roundabout) on Mall Road. I saw smoke rising from one of the buildings. I sped up to escape,” Khan was quoted as saying.
The explosion damaged several cars waiting at a traffic signal. “When I reached the scene there were dead and wounded people lying everywhere,” another witness Shaukat Ali said.
The President Asif Ali Zardari and the Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani strongly condemned the attack. Schools in the city were shut following the blast and security personnel escorted children back home.
The heavily fortified Pakistani Army’s General Headquarters had come under attack on October 10 when 10 militants wearing combat uniforms laid a siege around it. At least 19 people, including nine raiders, died in the 22-hour standoff. One attacker was also arrested.
Meanwhile, the army stepped up its offensive in South Waziristan against the Taliban, which has vowed retaliation.
The government on Monday offered a reward of $5 million for information on the country’s Taliban chief Hakimullah Mehsud and 18 of his associates who have stepped up strikes across Pakistan.
The advertisement says: “Anyone who captures these people dead or alive or provides concrete information, the government will give them a cash reward.”
The largest rewards of 50 million Pakistan rupees each were offered for Mehsud, senior leader Wali ur-Rehman Mehsud and Qari Hussain Mehsud, also described as a master trainer of suicide bombers.
The latest wave of violence in Pakistan started with a suicide bombing at the offices of the UN World Food Programme in Islamabad Oct 5.
Over 200 people have been killed in the string of attacks, including massive bombings. The attacks have taken place in various parts of the country, including capital Islamabad.
Oct 28 saw the worst attack in Pakistan this year when over 110 people were killed in a massive bombing in a crowded Peshawar market.
Two suicide bombers blew themselves up when their car was stopped by policemen on the outskirts of this eastern Pakistani city, injuring at least 15 persons.
The attackers were trying to enter Lahore in a white car when they were stopped at a police check post at Babu Sabu outside the city. The two men then detonated their explosives, police officials said.
“Seven persons, including four civilians, were wounded in the blast. Two policemen were seriously injured,” Lahore police chief Pervaiz Rathore said.
Body parts of the bombers, including a severed head, had been found, he said.
Footage on television showed at least three vehicles were damaged. Personnel from the bomb disposal squad checked the car that was being used by the bombers to ascertain if there were any more explosives in it. The area was cordoned off and traffic on the busy motorway was stopped.
The incident occurred hours after a suicide bomber blew himself up in a busy commercial area in the garrison city of Rawalpindi, killing 35 people and injuring over 60.
Lastupdate on : Mon, 2 Nov 2009 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Mon, 2 Nov 2009 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Tue, 3 Nov 2009 00:00:00 IST
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