Blast rocks hotel in Risalpur cantonment
NOWSHERA: At least 12 people, including some army and air force personnel, were killed and 17 injured when a powerful explosion hit a hotel in Risalpur cantonment on Thursday.
Nowshera district police chief Mohammad Hussain said a bomb placed on a bicycle was detonated by remote control at about 8.30pm when people had gathered outside the Decent Hotel near the busy Risalpur Chowk after Iftar. He said six of the injured were in critical condition.
Those killed included Habibullah, Abdul Latif, Mohammad Usman, Abdul Hafeez, Hasham, Nazim, Shahbaz, Asif and Latifullah.
Police said six of the injured had been taken to the Combined Military Hospital in Risalpur, six to the District Headquarters Hospital in Nowshera and five to the Mardan Complex Hospital.
Witnesses said a teenager had parked the bicycle at the hotel and left a few minutes before the explosion. A large number of people were busy shopping for Eid in the market at the time. Bomb Disposal Squad personnel said 8kgs of explosives had been used in the blast.
The front portion of the hotel was destroyed and a couple of adjoining shops were damaged. Local people said military personnel from the Risalpur garrison usually visited the hotel after Iftar.
AFP adds: Hayatullah Khan, a police officer who was at the scene, told AFP that the dead included two army and one air force personnel.
“A woman and a child were also killed in the attack,” he said. TV channels aired footage showing the debris of the hotel and nearby shops destroyed in the blast. Blood could be seen scattered at the hotel’s front along with damaged wooden chairs.
Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani condemned the attack and reiterated the government’s resolve to stamp out militancy and terrorism from the country. “Those playing with the lives of innocent people have no religion and no faith, they are following their own nefarious designs,” he said in a statement.
More than 4,550 people have been killed in suicide attacks and bomb explosions in the country over the past four years. Last week, 51 people were killed when a suicide bomber blew himself up at a crowded mosque in Khyber Agency.