Three killed, 12 injured in suicide attack in Pakistan

Last Updated: Saturday, May 1, 2010 - 18:47

Peshawar: A suicide bomber blew himself up
in a busy market in the troubled Swat valley in northwest
Pakistan on Saturday, killing at least three persons and injuring 12
others, police said.

The attack occurred shortly after security forces
arrested a would-be suicide bomber and shot dead two militants
in Mingora, the main city in Swat district, police officials
said. The bomber struck in a market located near Sohrab Khan
Chowk in Mingora.

The explosion killed three civilians. Hospital
officials described the condition of three of the injured as
critical. Shortly before the blast, security forces arrested a
would-be suicide attacker at Green Chowk, the main square in
Mingora.

Acting on information provided by the arrested man,
troops moved to Sohrab Khan Chowk and surrounded a house where
some militants were believed to be hiding. The security forces
shot dead two militants in the house. A third militant ran out
of the house and exploded his suicide vest at the market near
Sohrab Khan Chowk, officials said.

Deputy Inspector General of Police (Malakand
division) Qazi Jameel told the media that one of the militants
gunned down by security forces was carrying some detonators.

Sohrab Khan Chowk is located about 100 meters from
Green Chowk. The two squares are the busiest areas of Mingora.

Huge plumes of smoke were seen billowing from the
site of the blast, which caused widespread panic in the city.

Footage on television showed people carrying the
injured away from the site as army soldiers and policemen
cordoned off the area and launched a search operation.

The powerful blast damaged a dozen shops.
All markets in Mingora closed down soon after the
explosion. Khyber Pakhtoonkhwa Chief Minister Ameer Haider
Khan Hoti condemned the attack, describing it as a cowardly
act. He ordered a probe into the incident and directed
officials to provide the best possible treatment to victims.

DIG Qazi Jameel said the situation in Swat was better
than before but militants were still trying to carry out
attacks to create fear among the people and cause casualties.

He said the market was chosen as a target by the
bomber as it is a public area and an explosion there could
cause more casualties.

Most parts of Swat were controlled by Taliban
fighters led by radical cleric Maulana Fazlullah till the army
launched a major offensive last year to flush out the
militants. The army claims Swat has been cleared of the
militants.

However, militants have carried out several attacks
and gunned down at least five persons, including a mayor, who
opposed the Taliban in recent weeks.

PTI



First Published: Saturday, May 1, 2010 - 18:47

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