Peshawar: Deadly Peshawar blast was work of suicide bomber
PESHAWAR: The deadliest bomb blast that ripped through the Khyber Super Market late on Saturday night was caused by a suicide attack, police said on Sunday. Additional SHO Gulberg police station Musharraf Khan said that there were in fact three blasts instead of the two as has been reported by the media. He said that prior to the suicide attack two minor blasts had taken place – one inside a restaurant and the other in the building adjacent to the market.
He said that as people gathered at the restaurant after the blast a man on a motorbike detonated his suicide vest, causing maximum casualties and damage.
“We had information about a possible suicide attack and planned to conduct an operation in sensitive areas after midnight, but could not do so because most of the police force had been on security duty for the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly for its budget session and some other emergencies,” Mr Musharraf Khan said. The death toll from the blasts rose to 34 on Sunday, hospital sources said.
Witnesses said that the explosion in the restaurant took place when people were dining. After a few minutes, when people were busy in rescue work and journalists were covering the incident, the suicide bombing occurred.
A local journalist, Asfandyar Chamkani was also killed and six other media men were among the injured. Jamil Shah, spokesman for the Lady Reading Hospital, said that of the 107 wounded, 47 were under treatment and their condition was stable. Three others were referred to the burns unit of a hospital in Kharian.
He said that only one body remained unidentified. The Khyber Super Market houses media offices, food stalls and residential apartments.
Mr Musharraf Khan said that several suspects had been taken into custody recently, but some influential people got them freed.
Abdul Haq of the bomb disposal squad said that 2kg of low-quality explosive material was planted in a cupboard at the restaurant.
He said the suicide bomber used about 8kg of explosives mixed with ball bearings. “We have found all proofs and sent them to relevant authorities for further action,” he said, adding that the explosives used in the suicide attack were of fine quality.
The structure of apartments, shops and electricity lines were damaged because of the impact of the blasts. Transformers caught fire but it was brought under control immediately.
AFP adds: Meanwhile, the Taliban denied responsibility for the blasts. “We did not carry out this attack in Peshawar. It is an attempt by foreign secret agencies who are doing it to malign us,” Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan spokesman Ehsanullah Ehsan told AFP.
“We do not target innocent people. Our targets are very clear, we attack security forces, government and people who are siding with it,” Ehsan said.