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
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
News
The cartoon depicts the UK (far left) walking around a Syrian child refugee
newsIn an exclusive artwork for The Independent, Ali Ferzat attacks Britain's lack of 'humanity'
Life and Style
tech
Sport
footballManager attacks Sky Sports pundit Jamie Redknapp after criticism of Diego Costa's apparent stamping
News
video
Life and Style
food + drink
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

Ashdown Group: Management Accountant - North West London, £35-40k

£35000 - £40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Management Accountant (ACCA / CIMA, ...

Recruitment Genius: Female Care Team

£11 - £12 per hour: Recruitment Genius: A 10 year old girl who has profound an...

Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager - Manchester - Urgent Requirement!

£30000 - £35000 per annum + 20 days holidays & pension: Ashdown Group: Marketi...

Recruitment Genius: Business Development Manager

£35000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Business Development Manager ...

Day In a Page

Greece elections: In times like these, the EU has far more dangerous adversaries than Syriza

Greece elections

In times like these, the EU has far more dangerous adversaries than Syriza, says Patrick Cockburn
Holocaust Memorial Day: Nazi victims remembered as spectre of prejudice reappears

Holocaust Memorial Day

Nazi victims remembered as spectre of prejudice reappears over Europe
Fortitude and the Arctic attraction: Our fascination with the last great wilderness

Magnetic north

The Arctic has always exerted a pull, from Greek myth to new thriller Fortitude. Gerard Gilbert considers what's behind our fascination with the last great wilderness
Homeless Veterans appeal: Homeless in Wales can find inspiration from Daniel’s story

Homeless Veterans appeal

Homeless in Wales can find inspiration from Daniel’s story
Front National family feud? Marine Le Pen and her relatives clash over French far-right party's response to Paris terror attacks

Front National family feud?

Marine Le Pen and her relatives clash over French far-right party's response to Paris terror attacks
Pot of gold: tasting the world’s most expensive tea

Pot of gold

Tasting the world’s most expensive tea
10 best wildlife-watching experiences: From hen harriers to porpoises

From hen harriers to porpoises: 10 best wildlife-watching experiences

While many of Britain's birds have flown south for the winter, it's still a great time to get outside for a spot of twitching
Nick Easter: 'I don’t want just to hold tackle bags, I want to be out there'

'I don’t want just to hold tackle bags, I want to be out there'

Nick Easter targeting World Cup place after England recall
DSK, Dodo the Pimp, and the Carlton Hotel

The inside track on France's trial of the year

Dominique Strauss-Kahn, Dodo the Pimp, and the Carlton Hotel:
As provocative now as they ever were

Sarah Kane season

Why her plays are as provocative now as when they were written
Murder of Japanese hostage has grim echoes of a killing in Iraq 11 years ago

Murder of Japanese hostage has grim echoes of another killing

Japanese mood was against what was seen as irresponsible trips to a vicious war zone
Syria crisis: Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more refugees as one young mother tells of torture by Assad regime

Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more Syrian refugees

One young mother tells of torture by Assad regime
The enemy within: People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back – with promising results

The enemy within

People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back
'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

Survivors of the Nazi concentration camp remember its horror, 70 years on
Autumn/winter menswear 2015: The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore

Autumn/winter menswear 2015

The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore