Blast near Pak army HQ in Rawalpindi, 34 killed, several injured

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Huge blast hits Rawalpindi safe zone; 34 killed, 45 injured.

Posted: Monday , Nov 02, 2009 at 1424 hrs at  Islamabad:

A suicide bomber blew himself up in a busy commercial area near the Army’s General Headquarters in the garrison city of Rawalpindi on Monday, killing at least 34 people, including military personnel, in the latest in a series of deadly terrorist attacks that have rocked Pakistan.

The motorcycle-borne bomber detonated his explosives outside a state-run bank, causing considerable damage to the facade of Shalimar Hotel on Mall Road, less than a kilometre from the army’s fortified General Headquarters that was besieged by a group of terrorists nearly a month ago.

Rescue service officials put the death toll at 34 while police said 45 injured were taken to nearby hospitals.

Many people, including pensioners, who had come to the National Bank to collect their salaries and pensions were among those killed and injured in the blast that occurred at 10.40 am.

Police officials said the suicide bomber blew himself up outside the bank when police teams tried to intercept him. Rawalpindi_blast

Witnesses said at least two military police personnel, five women and several private security guards and passers-by were killed.

Several army officers’ messes, sensitive military installations and other hotels are located near Shalimar Hotel. Military police and paramilitary personnel cordoned off the area and diverted traffic from the road in front of the hotel.

Ambulances rushed bodies and the injured to hospitals, where an emergency was declared.

Several cars and motorcycles parked outside the hotel and the bank were damaged by the explosion, which also shattered the windows of nearby buildings.

Zahid Dara, who witnessed the attack, told reporters: “I fell off my motorcycle when the blast occurred. People began running helter-skelter in panic… I saw the blast had occurred outside the hotel, near which there are several banks, travel agencies and other offices”.

Dara said he had seen private security guards and army personnel among the dead and injured.

“Several people in cars that were passing the hotel were also killed,” he said.

The attack came nearly a month after an audacious terrorist strike on the General Headquarters in which 14 people were killed before most of the attackers were gunned down by army commandos.

The attackers had also taken nearly 50 people hostage in an office of the Military Intelligence agency.

All schools in Rawalpindi were closed soon after the attack.

pindiBlast_afp316Pakistan has witnessed a series of deadly suicide attacks and bombings over the past few weeks that have killed hundreds of people.

Nearly 120 people, mostly women and children, were killed in a car bomb attack in a commercial hub in Peshawar last week.

Most of the attacks have been claimed by the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan, against whom the army has launched a major offensive in the lawless South Waziristan tribal region.

The military says nearly 310 militants and about 35 soldiers have died so far in fighting in the area bordering Afghanistan.

Twin suicide attack in Lahore kills policemen, injured civilians.

Suicide bomber injures 10 police, 6 others in Lahore.

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Policemen examine the site after suicide bombers blew themselves up at a police checkpoint near bus terminals in Lahore. -AFP Photo

Monday, 02 Nov, 2009

LAHORE: A suicide bomber blew himself up at a checkpost here on Monday, injuring 10 policemen and six others.

According to police, a white Suzuki car was entering the city after exiting the Babu Sabu interchange on Motorway II when it was signalled to stop for search at around 6:45pm on Bund Road.

A man came out of the vehicle and blew himself up and the other man on the driving seat was injured in the blast. He was taken to hospital in a serious condition.

An ASI and a constable were also said to be in a critical condition.

The incident took place on one of the most congested roads close to Babu Sabu interchange where heavy traffic plies within the city and outside.

Some motorists and a traffic warden were also injured in the blast and at least four vehicles were damaged.

Rescue 1122 and Edhi ambulances took the injured to Mayo and Services hospitals.

Capital City Police Officer Muhammad Pervez Rathore told Dawn that officials of the bomb disposal squad were determining the quantity and nature of explosives concealed in the car.
DIG (investigation) Shoaib Dastgir said forensic experts found a suicide belt, pellets, explosives and related material from the spot.

According to police, the bomber was thought to be 20 years of age. He was carrying at least 10 kg of explosives.

Thought not confirmed by the authorities it believed that two policemen lost their lives after succumbing critical injuries out of the blast missed the  target to an extent and not caused heavy casualties accordingly as the witnesses said.

Courtesy: Indian Express, Dawn News, AP, AFP, Others.

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