Japanese nationals escape suicide bombing attack unhurt in Pakistan’s Karachi

Police say all five Japanese nationals who were in the car moved to safe location

Arpan Rai
Friday 19 April 2024 11:52 BST
Security personnel patrol along a street in Karachi
Security personnel patrol along a street in Karachi (AFP via Getty Images/ Representative image)

Five Japanese nationals narrowly escaped a suicide bombing attack unhurt in Pakistan’s Karachi as one attacker died in the blast and police gunned down his accomplice.

Police officials said five Japanese nationals were in the car that came under attack in Landhi’s Mansehra Colony. All five are safe and have been shifted to a safe location, police spokesperson Abrar Hussain Baloch said.

One of the two motorcycle-borne attackers set off explosives tied to his body as soon as the vehicle slowed, Pakistani counter-terrorism official Raja Umar Khatab told reporters, but failed to strike his target. That prompted his accomplice to start shooting at the vehicle.

"I think he fired some 15 or 16 shots," Mr Khatab said, adding that private security guards with the foreigners and a nearby police patrol returned fire and killed the second attacker.

The men had followed the Japanese group’s vehicle for some time before the attack, he said, with authorities suspecting they carried out reconnaissance to identify the target and location of the attack.

The foreign nationals were aboard the van heading to an industrial area where they worked at Pakistan Suzuki motors, local police chief Arshad Awan said. The Japanese were working in the export processing zone.

A bag filled with grenades and Kalashnikov has also been recovered from the crime scene. Three passersby were among the people injured in the attack and have been shifted to a nearby hospital. They are now in a stable condition, Mr Awan said.

No militant group has immediately claimed responsibility for the attack.

In Tokyo, Japan’s chief cabinet secretary, Yoshimasa Hayashi, told a press conference that one Japanese national was confirmed to have been injured and the government was checking details, having flagged the risk to other citizens in Pakistan.

Pakistan and its neighbour Afghanistan have been rocked by multiple suicide bombing attacks over the last few years amid regional tensions and infighting between factions of Isis militant group, its powerful arm Islamic State – Khorasan Province (ISKP) and offshoots of Al Qaeda group.

The militants are looking to overthrow the government in Islamabad as they look to establish their own brand of strict Islamic rule.

The attacks in Pakistan and Afghanistan have also targeted foreign nationals, including Chinese in Afghanistan’s Shahr-e-naw.

Regional governor of Sindh Karan Tessori has asked officials to submit a report on the attack, and said “terrorism will not be tolerated in the city under any circumstances”, Geo News reported.

Pakistan’s president Asif Ali Zardari and prime minister Shehbaz Sharif condemned the attack on the Japanese nationals.

In separate statements, they praised police for quickly responding and foiling the attack. They also vowed to eliminate terrorism and prayed for the speedy recovery of those wounded in the attack.

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