ISLAMABAD: A guard was killed and four other persons were injured when a suicide bomber blew himself up at a private commercial bank — Silk Bank — in the busy I-8 Markaz here on Monday.
The suicide bomber detonated his explosives-laden jacket after being intercepted by the security guard at the entrance of the bank. The security guard was injured as a result of the blast and succumbed to his injuries while being shifted to the hospital.
According to details collected from various sources including the Police, the bank employees, and the security guard at a nearby commercial bank who was also injured in the attack, the suicide bomber was wearing a white ‘shalwar-kameez,’ had a small beard and looked to be around 17-18 years of age.
According to eyewitnesses, the bomber was dropped in front of the bank by a car that immediately sped away from the scene. He walked up to the main entrance of the Silk Bank where he was checked with a metal detector by the security guard, Mohammad Bashir. According to sources the ‘metal detector’ beeped after which the suicide bomber tried to push past the security guard and force his entry into the bank. However, the security guard intercepted him and tried to prevent him from entering the bank, which is when the suicide bomber blew himself up. While the security guard outside Silk Bank was grappling with the suicide bomber, the security guard of the adjacent Muslim Commercial Bank also rushed towards the two; but before he could get any closer, the suicide bomber blew himself up.
The impact of the blast was so powerful that the facade of Silk Bank came crumbling down; the big glass windowpanes were shattered and some damage was caused even to the interior of the bank.
The Silk Bank security guard Mohammad Bashir was critically injured as a result of the blast and was rushed to the Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences (PIMS) where he eventually succumbed to his injuries. Four other injured persons were also brought to the PIMS, including the Operation Manager of Silk Bank, Zulqarnain Ahmed, Sales Executive Officer Mohammad Haseeb, the security guard of MCB, Maqbool Ahmed and sweeper Shani.
The last suicide bombing in Islamabad took place almost a year and a half ago, on ‘Qasr-e-Sakeena’ in Shikrial area, close to the Islamabad Highway in Zone-V on December 24, 2009. Terrorists also carried out a brazen attack on oil tankers and containers carrying supplies for the Nato forces in Afghanistan on May 10, 2010 at a parking bay near Tarnol on the Grand Trunk (GT) Road in the west of Islamabad.
The Inspector-General of Police (IGP) Islamabad, Wajid Ali Durrani, who rushed to the site of Monday’s attack, told journalists that the attack was carried out by a suicide bomber loaded with at least 8 kg of explosive material, evidently tied round his waist. The target was Silk Bank, a private commercial bank, adjacent to MCB. “We are conducting our investigation; the forensics team has collected all evidence that could be retrieved and we will certainly seek the cooperation of the people who have seen and observed anything that may prove helpful in moving forward with our investigation,” the IGP said.
Deputy Inspector General (DIG) Islamabad Police, Bani Ameen, said the nature of the blast clearly indicated that it was a suicide attack because the impact of the blast caused maximum damage to the upper part of the bomber’s body. “The evidence indicates that the suicide bomber was wearing the jacket loaded with explosive material round his chest and when he blew up, his head and legs remained almost intact while the middle part of his body and arms were completely dismembered. There was no crater on the floor,” Bani Ameen said.
“We are on the job and will do the best we can to trace the culprits behind this cowardly attack on innocent civilians. They have returned to destroy the peace and calm of this city but we will not allow them to do so,” Ameen said.
The spokesman for PIMS, Dr Waseem Khawaja, told The News that all injured admitted to the hospital were out of danger and in a stable condition. About the corpse of the suicide bomber, Dr Khawaja said only the skull and legs were brought to the hospital. “The DNA samples have already been taken and sent for identification. The face is also identifiable and now it is up to the investigators to make the best use of all the clues available,” the spokesman for the PIMS said.
Online adds: Federal Interior Minister Rehman Malik has conferred Sitara-e-Shujaat on the security guard who sacrificed his life to stop the suicide bomber from entering the bank. Malik declared that such attacks would not destabilise the country.
He said the capital has been enveloped with a security blanket after the attack while sector I-8 has been entirely cordoned off. APP adds: President Asif Ali Zardari and Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani condemned the suicide attack.