Taliban storm US consulate in Pak

3 suicide bombings create carnage, claim 46 lives; bloodiest day in NW province

Taliban storm US consulate in Pak

 A US official examines the site of a suicide attack outside the US consulate in Peshawar on Monday. AFP
While 43 people were killed and over 100 others injured in the suicide bombing in Timergara in lower Dir, three others, including a policeman, lost their lives in the attack targeting the American consulate.

Six heavily-armed attackers came in two cars and raked two security check posts of the consulate with gunfire as a series of grenade explosions rocked the cantonment area where the premises is located before they were gunned down by the security forces.
“The target was certainly the American consulate but they didn’t succeed in getting there,” a police official said as senior provincial minister Bashir Bilour asserted that the “militants were well-equipped and it was a well-organised attack.”

The attackers were carrying a large amount of explosives and several suicide jackets which were defused by security personnel, Bilour said. One policeman was killed, he said.
The US Embassy said in a statement in Islamabad that the “coordinated attack involved a vehicle suicide bomb and terrorists attempting to enter the (consulate) using grenades and weapons fire.”

Two Pakistani security guards employed by the consulate were killed and “a number of others were seriously wounded”, the statement said.

The Embassy said militants tried to enter the building and fired grenades and other weapons, but were not successful. It also said no Americans were killed in the assault.
Though TV channels reported that the outer wall of the consulate was damaged, the embassy statement remained silent on this. The last attack on a US mission in Pakistan was in Karachi in 2006.

The bodies of six militants were found in the area, Geo News channel quoted its sources as saying. The attackers, who were wearing uniforms of the Frontier Corps, targeted an armoured car at Shama Chowk, the channel said.

Pakistani Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack with its spokesman Azam Tariq saying “3,000 fedayeen were ready to target the Americans.” It also warned more attacks against the US.

It was one of the bloodiest day in the province, where government forces are pressing an offensive to force Taliban fighters out of their strongholds in Aurakzai and South Waziristan.

Hours earlier, a suicide bomber struck a political gathering of NWFP’s ruling Awami National Party to celebrate the renaming of the Pushtun dominated province as Khyber-Pakhtoonkhwa. At least 43 people were killed and 100 others injured in the attack in Timergara in lower Dir.

The blast occurred at a rest house in the market of Timergara, the headquarters of Lower Dir district, where the ANP had organised the rally.

Sultan Zeb, a middle rung ANP leader, was among the dead and party leader Zahid Khan’s brother was injured in the attack.

The three blasts occurred within 20 minutes in the area around the consulate.

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