RAWALPINDI: A suicide bomber killed 14 people including nine security personnel in a market next to the Pakistan Army’s General Headquarters (GHQ) Monday. The Tehreek-e-Taliban (TTP) claimed responsibility for the bombing which was the second high profile attack in the last 24 hours.
The bombing in Rawalpindi came a day after the TTP killed 26 soldiers and wounded at least 25 others in a suicide bombing in the northwestern town of Bannu.
Haroon Joya, a senior police official at the scene of the blast, told reporters: "It was a suicide attack, we are collecting evidence from the spot. We have collected some body parts suspected to be of the suicide bomber."
The top government official in Rawalpindi, Sajid Zafar Dall, said the attack occurred as children were going to school. "Our initial assessment is that the bomber was possibly on a bicycle and he then approached the target on foot," he said.
An Afghan national believed to be the accomplice of the bomber has been taken into custody.
The intensity of the blast shattered glass windows in the area. Security was put on high alert throughout the area after the blast. "I was reading a newspaper after opening my shop and all of a sudden I heard a big blast," Liaqat Ali, a grocery shop owner near the site told AFP. "The intensity of the blast threw me off my chair. I rushed outside and saw smoke and smoke everywhere. I saw injured laying and screaming on the ground." Police and commandos cordoned off the area as ambulances took wounded to a nearby military hospital.
The TTP have been waging a bloody campaign against the Pakistani state since 2007, carrying out countless bomb and gun attacks, often on military targets. The military headquarters came under attack in 2009, when militants laid siege to the complex for 24 hours. A total of 19 people died including eight militants.