Islamabad: Suicide attackers today stormed a court complex in a rare gun and bomb attack in the heart of the Pakistani capital, killing at least 11 people including a judge and young lawyers.
The unidentified attackers burst into the complex of the local court and opened fire, killing Additional Sessions Judge Rafaqat Ahmad Khan Awan and 10 others. At least 25 people were injured in the attack in F-8 area of the capital where a large number of expatriates stay.
Though the exact number of the attackers could not be ascertained, Islamabad police chief said two of the attackers blew themselves up when cornered.
“The two gunmen when challenged blew themselves up. This was a suicide attack,” Inspector General of Police Sikandar Hayat told reporters.
“Eleven people are dead and 25 others injured of whom five are in serious condition,” said Javed Akram, Vice Chancellor of Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences.
He said all the injuries were due to gun shot wounds on the upper part of the body. Akram said majority of the killed and injured were young lawyers.
The gunmen entered the court premises and threw two grenades, witnesses said. They opened indiscriminate fire with assault rifles which continued for about 15 minutes without being challenged by the few security personnel posted there.
The number of total gunmen involved in the attack varied with witnesses giving different versions.
There was no CCTV installed in the Court premises and the two scanners set up in the complex were not working.
The Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) spokesperson Shahidullah Shahid, who had announced a ceasefire two days back, denied his group’s involvement in the attack.
The Taliban on Saturday announced a month-long ceasefire to facilitate the resumption of peace talks suspended by the government over the recent execution of 23 troops.
The military had retaliated after the execution with a series of targeted air strikes that left more than 100 insurgents dead. Some 40,000 people have been killed during a nearly decade-long insurgency in Pakistan.
Police and intelligence agencies submitted an initial report to the Interior Ministry and according to it, four armed men entered the court building and two suicide attacks took place, media reports said.
The attack comes just days after Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan said Islamabad was a safe city. This is the first terrorist attack in the heart of Islamabad in along time.