Peshawar: Bomb rips through PAF bus, 13 slain
PESHAWAR: Thirteen people including seven Pakistan Air Force (PAF) personnel were killed when a remote-controlled roadside bomb targeted a PAF vehicle on the Bara Pul bridge on Kohat Road on Tuesday, police said.
Twelve people were wounded of which five are stated to be in critical condition. The blast occurred at around 11am and was so intense that it created a deep crater on the bridge. The explosion was heard several kilometres away and nearby homes were damaged. The PAF Shahzor bus, coming from Bababer and bound for Peshawar, caught fire after the explosion. Six bodies were burnt beyond recognition.
Taliban spokesman Maulvi Umar said the attack in Peshawar was in retaliation for recent military operations in the border region. “It is an open war between us and them,” he told The Associated Press.
A senior police official told Daily Times it was a remote-controlled device and weighed 15 to 20 kilogrammes, but a bomb disposal squad official said 30 to 40 kilogrammes of explosives were used. The police official said police seized an engine of an Alto car from the scene and was not clear if the bomb was installed in the car or on the bridge.
A PAF press release said five airmen, two civilians employees of the PAF, and two sepoys of the Defence Security Guard were among the dead. Three PAF airmen and two Defence Security Guard men were injured, it said. Civilians aboard a Kagawala–bound Suzuki van also died in the attack. They included a six-year-old girl. The injured include two women, Pukhraj and Nadia.
Traffic on the Kohat Road was suspended soon after the bombing and was diverted to Cyphen Chowk via Beri Bala Road. Locals said police and fire brigade did not arrive on the scene immediately. NWFP Information Minister Mian Iftikhar Hussain condemned the attack while talking to reporters at the Lady Reading Hospital, and said terrorist wanted to “spread anarchy in the country”.