10 cops among 30 killed in Hangu suicide blast
HANGU: Thirty persons, including 10 cops, were killed and over 50 injured when a suicide bomber rammed his explosive-laden double cabin van into the building of the Communication and Works Department here on Thursday, official sources said.
Eyewitnesses and official sources said the silver-coloured van hit the main gate of the building in the district headquarters in an area that houses several important government offices. The office of the Communication and Works Department was destroyed while the building of Hangu police station was badly damaged in the explosion.
District Coordination Officer Adil Siddique and District Police Officer Abdur Rasheed told reporters the suicide bomber may have wanted to target their offices. “The attacker apparently failed to reach the target and exploded the vehicle prematurely,” DCO Adil Siddique claimed.
There are also reports that the suicide bomber’s vehicle developed a fault before it could reach the offices of the DCO and DPO and he had to explode it before reaching his intended target. “The [Communication and Works Department] building was razed to the ground and there was chaos all around soon after the blast,” an eyewitness recalled, adding that body parts lay scattered all over the place. Most of the bodies were beyond recognition.
Officials of the Bomb Disposal Unit said about 500 kilograms of explosives were used in the attack, which created an eight-feet deep crater at the blast site.
Hospital sources say the bodies of 30 persons were brought to the hospital. The 50 injured persons were rushed to the crowded District Headquarters Hospital, Hangu.
Some of the critically injured persons were shifted to hospitals in Kohat and Peshawar. Eyewitnesses also say 13 shops, including the office of a private cellular phone company franchise, were destroyed in the bombing.
Commissioner Kohat Sahibzada Anis and Deputy Inspector General (DIG) police Masood Afridi also visited the blast site.
The Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan claimed responsibility for the blast through its spokesman Ehsanullah Ehsan.
Meanwhile, security forces launched an operation in the area but no arrests have been made so far.
The dead were identified as cops Tanveer Ali, Khandan, Said Malook, Intezar Ali, Hussain Zafar Iqbal, Ajir Khan, Hazrat Bilal, Babu and Payo Khan.
The deceased civilians include Niaz, Jamal Ali, Rehmanullah, Bilo, Muhammad Waseem, Falak Naz, Hafeezullah, Sabeel, Muhammadzada, Tanveer Hussain, Mustaqeem Khan, Mir Muhammad, Samiullah, Haji Khan, Idrees, Musharraf, Shakeel Khan, Asif, Gul Muhammad Khan, an Afghan national Piyavi and two unidentified people.
The injured include cops Jehad Gul, Mujibullah, Najib Gul, Ali, Zubair, Lal Badshah, sub-inspector Saadat Khan, sub-inspector Zohaibullah, sub-inspector Gul Razeem, Shafi Hussain, Yousaf, Payo Ali, Samiullah, Liaqat, Bakht Gul, Azmat, Attiqullah, Hakimzada, Muhammad Ibrahim, Imran, Mir Ghalib, Adil Badshah, Sudeer Khan, Tahir Nawaz, Tanveer Lal, Munir Khan, Hussain Akbar, Irfan, Anwar, Kamran, Said Khan, Khalid, Nazar Khan, Saleh Khan, Yasin Zafar, Hussain, Anwar, Khan Akbar, Said Wasim, Payo Gul, Shabbir Khan, Anwar Khan, Alam Khan, Muhammad Khan, Ihsan, Gul Wali, Jan Muhammad, Ishaq and others.
APP: President Asif Ali Zardari and Prime Minister Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani have strongly condemned the Hangu attack and in separate messages have expressed shock and grief over the loss of innocent lives. They have also reiterated the government’s resolve to fight terrorism and militancy till its complete elimination.
The US Embassy in Islamabad also sent a message. “We are once again reminded of the necessity of resolute action against violent extremists and those who support or tolerate them. We hope to see the perpetrators behind this atrocity brought to swift justice,” an embassy spokesperson said.