Suicide bombers strike Pakistan, 6 killed

Pakistani police officials and volunteers inspect a damaged van after a suicide bomb attack in Peshawar. Photograph:( AFP )

AFP Peshawar, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Pakistan Feb 15, 2017, 02.42 PM (IST)

Four suicide bombers struck Pakistan on Wednesday, killing six people and unnerving citizens whose growing sense of security has been shaken by multiple Taliban blasts this week.

The latest assault happened in the north-western city of Peshawar, said police, after a bomber rode a motorcycle into a van carrying several judges which was travelling through an upmarket neighbourhood.

"It was a suicide attack," senior police official Sajjad Khan said.

Khan said the van driver was killed in the attack, which was claimed by the umbrella group Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP, or Pakistani Taliban). Five people - including at least four judges, three of them female - were injured, he added.

Earlier in the day, two suicide bombers launched an assault on a government compound in the Mohmand tribal region in the north-west, killing five people and wounding seven. One was shot dead before he could detonate the bomb while the other blew himself up at the gate of the compound, local officials said.

Later, police said, another suicide bomber blew himself up when security forces surrounded him during a search operation in the area. Wednesday's attacks came two days after a powerful suicide bombing rocked the Punjab provincial capital Lahore, killing at least 13 people and wounding dozens more.

Also on Monday, two members of a bomb disposal unit were killed in Quetta, the capital of restive Balochistan province, when a device they were defusing went off. It was unclear if the Quetta bomb was related to the other attacks.

Jamaat-ul-Ahrar, a faction of the Pakistani Taliban, has claimed the attacks in Lahore and Mohmand. Last week the group vowed a fresh wave of assaults on government installations.

Spokesman for both Jamaat-ul-Ahrar and the main TTP warned the attacks would continue. The deadly assaults prompted Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to convene a security review with the powerful military chief and senior government officials.

They "reiterated the national resolve of complete physical and ideological annihilation of terrorism and extremism", according to a statement from the PM's office.