Seven killed in suicide attack, roadside bombing in Peshawar

This was only the third occasion when a woman was involved in a suicide strike.
Though no group claimed responsibility for today's attacks, the Pakistani Taliban have earlier claimed that they have trained women and husband-and-wife teams to carry out suicide assaults.

In the first attack, a bomb hidden in a cart parked on the roadside near Lahori Gate was detonated by remote control as a police van carrying 20 personnel was passing the area at around 7 a m. A group of schoolboys was passing through the area when the bomb went off.

Five policemen and a 12-year-old boy were killed by the blast. The police van was destroyed, police officials said.

Hours later, a woman suicide bomber lobbed a grenade at a police check post located a short distance from the site of the first blast and then blew herself up.

DIG Shafqat Malik of the bomb disposal squad told reporters that the bomber's suicide vest malfunctioned and only part of it went off.

The blast killed the bomber and a 60-year-old woman, police said. Police officials said the suicide bomber appeared to be about 16 or 17 years old.

Though initial reports said the second woman was also a suspected suicide bomber, police officials later confirmed that no explosives were found on her body and that she was a passer-by.

A total of 37 people, including 17 policemen, were injured in both attacks and officials at the Lady Reading Hospital said about eight of them were in a critical condition.
Ten shops were also damaged in the first blast.

Police officials said the woman suicide bomber was unable to get close to any potential targets as security forces had cordoned off the Lahori Gate area after the first blast.
The blasts were the first terrorist attacks in Peshawar during the Islamic holy month of Ramzan and ended a relative lull in the city.

The attack showed that militants retained the ability to strike almost at will despite army operations against them.

Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani condemned the attacks in Peshawar and ordered law enforcement agencies to maintain vigilance and take every measure to protect the lives of citizens.

There has been a spurt in militant attacks in Pakistan since US commandos killed al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden during a raid in Abbottabad in May.

Since then, a paramilitary academy, a naval airbase, government buildings and a US consulate convoy have been attacked.

In December last year, a burqa-clad bomber killed over 40 people in an attack on a UN food distribution centre in Bajaur tribal region.

In June, the Pakistani Taliban claimed a couple carried out a suicide attack on a police station that killed 10 security personnel.

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