Five police killed by suicide bomber in Pakistan

A suicide bomber in a pick-up truck filled with explosives attacked a police building in north-west Pakistan today, killing five police officers and wounding at least 30 other people in the latest round of bloodshed to hit the country since the US raid which killed Osama bin Laden.

The Pakistani Taliban claimed responsibility for the early- morning strike in Peshawar, and promised more attacks as they and other al-Qa'ida-affiliated groups seek to avenge the leader's death.

Already this month, the Pakistani Taliban has claimed three other revenge attacks, including a deadly 18-hour siege of a naval base.

The bomber's target today appeared to be the police's criminal investigation department, but the building was also an army base and several military facilities are also nearby, said Liaquat Ali Khan, a senior police official in Peshawar.

Investigators with the police counter-terrorism unit were stationed at the centre, said Fayaz Khan Toru, the top police official in north-western Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province.

Police officer Mohammad Zahid was in the basement of the building when the bomb went off.

"I felt like the sky fell on me," he said in hospital, where he was being treated for multiple injuries. "The explosion jammed the door of my room in the basement, but there was a small hole in the wall so I crawled through that. When I got outside, there was lots of dust and smoke."

At least five police officers died, and 30 people were wounded, police official Jalal Khan said. Military forces quickly sealed off much of the area as machines were brought in to sift through the huge piles of rubble left at the site of what was once a multistorey building.

The Pakistani Taliban, while hostile to the United States, also despise the Pakistani government and security forces for co-operating with Washington since the September 11 2001 attacks. The group has carried out numerous attacks on Pakistan's security establishment over the years.

Taliban spokesman Ahsanullah Ahsan said future attacks would also target Pakistan's president, prime minister and army chief, but he said the militants would not assault the country's nuclear installations because "Pakistan is the only Muslim nuclear power state".

"We had announced that we will target Pakistani leaders and Pakistani security forces to punish them for supporting America," he said. "We are carrying out these attacks to prove that we can do what we say."

Government leaders condemned today's bombing.

"Our determination is much higher than before, and we will fight 'til the defeat of these terrorists," said Bashir Bilour, a senior official with the provincial government. He said at least 660lb (300kg) of explosives were used.

Bin Laden was killed on May 2 by a team of US Navy Seals in the army town of Abbottabad, elsewhere in Pakistan's north-west and roughly a mile away from Pakistan's premier military academy.

Since the raid, US-Pakistan relations have sunk to new lows.

Pakistani leaders insist they had no idea the al-Qa'ida leader had been living, apparently for five years, in the large, three-storey house in Abbottabad. And they are furious that the US raided the house without telling them in advance.

Since the bin Laden raid, the Pakistani Taliban has taken responsibility for a twin suicide bombing at a paramilitary police training facility which killed around 90 people and a car bomb that slightly wounded two Americans in north-west Pakistan.

But the siege of the naval base in the southern port city of Karachi was easily one of the most audacious militant assaults in years and further rattled a military establishment already humiliated by the unilateral US raid.

The militants destroyed two US-supplied surveillance aircraft while killing 10 people on the base. Four militants died in the fighting, officials said.

There have been conflicting accounts as to the number of insurgents involved - anywhere from six to 15. Pakistan security agencies are known to sometimes not give full accounts of terrorism incidents and often hold suspects for months without informing the public.

The fact that the attackers managed to infiltrate so deep into the high-security base led to speculation they may have had inside information or assistance.

The military is not immune from the anti-Americanism and Islamism coursing through the country, especially in its lower ranks, and America's raid against bin Laden has exacerbated anger among soldiers.

The naval base stand-off also revived international concerns over whether Pakistan's estimated 100 nuclear weapons were safe from extremists.

During a news conference in Kabul yesterday, Nato Secretary- General Anders Fogh Rasmussen acknowledged the ongoing concerns about the safety of Pakistan's nuclear weapons.

"Based on the information and intelligence we have, I feel confident that Pakistan's nuclear arsenal is safe and well protected," he said. "But of course, it is a matter of concern and we follow the situation closely."

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Life and Style
Powdered colors are displayed for sale at a market ahead of the Holi festival in Bhopal, India
techHere's what you need to know about the riotous occasion
Arts and Entertainment
Larry David and Rosie Perez in ‘Fish in the Dark’
theatreReview: Had Fish in the Dark been penned by a civilian it would have barely got a reading, let alone £10m advance sales
News
Details of the self-cleaning coating were published last night in the journal Science
science
News
Approved Food sell products past their sell-by dates at discounted prices
i100
News
Life-changing: Simone de Beauvoir in 1947, two years before she wrote 'The Second Sex', credited as the starting point of second wave feminism
peopleHer seminal feminist polemic, The Second Sex, has been published in short-form to mark International Women's Day
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Finance Assistant / Credit Controller

£16000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They are an award-winning digit...

Ashdown Group: Senior VMware Platform Engineer - VMware / SAN / Tier3 DC

£45000 - £55000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Senior VMware Platform En...

Recruitment Genius: Purchasing Assistant

£10000 - £16000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A distributor of specialist ele...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Ledger Assistant

£17000 - £19000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A distributor of specialist ele...

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans campaign: Donations hit record-breaking £1m target after £300,000 gift from Lloyds Bank

Homeless Veterans campaign

Donations hit record-breaking £1m target after huge gift from Lloyds Bank
Flight MH370 a year on: Lost without a trace – but the search goes on

Lost without a trace

But, a year on, the search continues for Flight MH370
Germany's spymasters left red-faced after thieves break into brand new secret service HQ and steal taps

Germany's spy HQ springs a leak

Thieves break into new €1.5bn complex... to steal taps
International Women's Day 2015: Celebrating the whirlwind wit of Simone de Beauvoir

Whirlwind wit of Simone de Beauvoir

Simone de Beauvoir's seminal feminist polemic, 'The Second Sex', has been published in short-form for International Women's Day
Mark Zuckerberg’s hiring policy might suit him – but it wouldn’t work for me

Mark Zuckerberg’s hiring policy might suit him – but it wouldn’t work for me

Why would I want to employ someone I’d be happy to have as my boss, asks Simon Kelner
Confessions of a planespotter: With three Britons under arrest in the UAE, the perils have never been more apparent

Confessions of a planespotter

With three Britons under arrest in the UAE, the perils have never been more apparent. Sam Masters explains the appeal
Russia's gulag museum 'makes no mention' of Stalin's atrocities

Russia's gulag museum

Ministry of Culture-run site 'makes no mention' of Stalin's atrocities
The big fresh food con: Alarming truth behind the chocolate muffin that won't decay

The big fresh food con

Joanna Blythman reveals the alarming truth behind the chocolate muffin that won't decay
Virginia Ironside was my landlady: What is it like to live with an agony aunt on call 24/7?

Virginia Ironside was my landlady

Tim Willis reveals what it's like to live with an agony aunt on call 24/7
Paris Fashion Week 2015: The wit and wisdom of Manish Arora's exercise in high camp

Paris Fashion Week 2015

The wit and wisdom of Manish Arora's exercise in high camp
8 best workout DVDs

8 best workout DVDs

If your 'New Year new you' regime hasn’t lasted beyond February, why not try working out from home?
Paul Scholes column: I don't believe Jonny Evans was spitting at Papiss Cissé. It was a reflex. But what the Newcastle striker did next was horrible

Paul Scholes column

I don't believe Evans was spitting at Cissé. It was a reflex. But what the Newcastle striker did next was horrible
Miguel Layun interview: From the Azteca to Vicarage Road with a million followers

From the Azteca to Vicarage Road with a million followers

Miguel Layun is a star in Mexico where he was criticised for leaving to join Watford. But he says he sees the bigger picture
Frank Warren column: Amir Khan ready to meet winner of Floyd Mayweather v Manny Pacquiao

Khan ready to meet winner of Mayweather v Pacquiao

The Bolton fighter is unlikely to take on Kell Brook with two superstar opponents on the horizon, says Frank Warren
War with Isis: Iraq's government fights to win back Tikrit from militants - but then what?

Baghdad fights to win back Tikrit from Isis – but then what?

Patrick Cockburn reports from Kirkuk on a conflict which sectarianism has made intractable