PESHAWAR: At least 17 people including policemen and minors were killed and near 60 more wounded in a suicide bomb blast that tore through an Awami National Party (ANP) corner meeting here on Tuesday evening, Geo News reported.
Reportedly, the moderate intensity blast struck when at least 200-300 ANP workers as well as leaders were attending a public meeting in Yakatoot area of Peshawar.
Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan claimed responsibility for what was the fourth deadly attack on politicians or political parties in three days as the country prepares to hold historic polls on May 11.
CCPO Peshawar, Liaquat Ali said it was a suicide attack. The AIG Bomb Disposal Unit, Shafqat Malik, even claimed the police had found the limbs and some other parts of a bomber's blast-torn body.
“A suicide bomber, who was standing among the workers waiting outside the meeting venue to welcome the leaders, jumped in front of Bilours car and blew himself up”, said the CCPO.
Another official said about six kilograms of explosives along with splinters and ball bearings were used in the bombing.
Many vehicles parked nearby caught fire after the blast. Live footage showed columns of smoke billowing from the site with blood splattered all over the place.
The notable ANP leaders including Ghulam Ahmed Bilour and Haroon Bilour, the son of late Bahsir Bilour who was martyred in a similar attack, were also present at the meeting. Both the main leaders narrowly escaped the attack.
Earlier the police had said an improvised explosive device (IED) was planted in Haroon Bilour's car, which detonated minutes after he left the vehicle to enter the corner meeting venue.
Ghulam Ahmed Bilour, apparently the main target of the attack, also received minor injuries. Sources in Lady Reading Hospital said the former minister for railways was doing fine.
Geo News live coverage footage showed a stunned Ghulam Ahmed Bilour, a septuagenarian, walking away form the blast site with stains of blood on his white dress.
However, according to a foreign newswire, the Taliban apologized for injuring Bilour, saying it had been targeting his nephew, Haroon.
"We apologize to Ghulam Bilour because we announced an amnesty for him," Taliban spokesman Ehsanullah Ehsan told the newswire by telephone from an undisclosed location. "Our target was Haroon Bilour," he said.
Mostly, the policemen and minors are said to be among the dead and the injured. Later it was confirmed that a stationhouse officer (SHO), an assistant sub inspector (ASI), and two constables were martyred in the line of duty while protecting the ANP leaders.
Fearing a rise in the death toll, the emergency responders told Geo News many of the injured shifted to Lady Reading and other hospitals are critical.
Police have launched investigation into the incident.