Internews/DPA/Reuters/AFP/Dera Ismail Khan/Islamabad/Peshawar
Nine people – including three civilians and six police officers – were killed in back-to-back attacks in Dera Ismail Khan yesterday.
According to District Police Officer (DPO) Salim Riaz, unidentified gunmen on four motorcycles opened fire on police at the Kotla Saidan checkpost around 7.45am yesterday, killing two officers on the spot.
Following the gun attack, a suicide blast took place at the hospital where the victims had been taken to, he said.
The bomber struck at the entrance to the hospital in Kotlan Saidan village on the outskirts of Dera Ismail Khan, killing four officers and three civilians.
Inayatullah, a local forensics expert, said that a woman set off 7kg of explosives packed with nails and ball- bearings.
“The female bomber, aged around 28 years, came on foot and blew herself up, killing two officers and four civilians, and wounding 13 others,” he said.
The injured were eight police officers and five civilians.
About 30 others were injured in the two incidents, Riaz said.
Another local police official, Malik Habib, confirmed the attack and casualty figures, and said officers later recovered the mutilated head of the bomber.
The blast damaged the hospital’s emergency room, forcing it to be shut down, according to a hospital official, who said the wounded were then moved to a military hospital.
The Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) has claimed the attacks, but did not acknowledge that the bomber was a woman.
According to a statement from TTP spokesperson Mohamed Khorasani, the attack was carried out in retaliation for the killing of a suspected terrorist by the Counter-Terrorism Department in Dera Ismail Khan on June 23.
He said a male suicide bomber struck outside the hospital, contradicting information from police, who said a woman strapped with explosives blew herself up.
DPO Riaz told Dunya TV that the bomber was wearing a burqa, a garment worn by women that covers the whole body.
Long hair consistent with that of a woman’s was also found at the scene and has been sent for laboratory examination, he said.
The Taliban has staged attacks going back nearly two decades, but almost all of them were carried out by men.
Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Chief Minister Mehmood Khan strongly condemned the incident and said that they share the grief of the victims’ families.
He said that such terrorist attacks would not dampen their resolve.
Dera Ismail Khan has seen a number of suicide attacks over the past decade as the Pakistani military carried out a campaign to suppress militant attacks in the area, an important hub in the $60bn China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).
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