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February 5, 2014

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Suicide attack in Peshawar hotel kills nine

Suicide attack in Peshawar hotel kills nine
PESHAWAR/KARACHI: At least nine persons were killed and 50 others, including nine women and five children, were wounded in a suicide bombing in a hotel in the narrow Koocha Risaldar street located near the historic Qissa Khwani Bazaar here on Tuesday.
In another terror incident in Karachi, a four-year-old girl was killed and eight others injured when a bomb exploded at the Ghaggar Phattak and Dhabeji Railway Interchange in Salaar Goth, due to which a train overturned.
Police officials confirmed the blast in Peshawar was a suicide attack. “The blast was carried out by a suicide bomber inside the dining hall of the Pak Hotel at around 8:05pm,” Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP), Operations Peshawar, Najibur Rehman told The News.
Many of those staying at the hotel and some nearby shopkeepers were having dinner in the restaurant when the blast occurred.
A powerful blast near the same hotel on December 5, 2008 had killed 34 persons and injured more than 120.
Most of the people who stay at the Pak Hotel are from Kurram Agency. It is located close to an Imambargah.
A narrow street connects the Shia-populated Koocha Risaldar to the Qissa Khwani bazaar that has suffered a number of terrorist attacks in recent years, while another road leads to Kohati Gate.
The powerful blast destroyed the dining hall and other parts of the hotel and damaged some nearby shops. The explosion was heard far and wide in the city.
Rescue officials and ambulances rushed to the spot to shift the bodies and those wounded in the terrorist attack, which was the second in Peshawar within 48 hours as earlier a cinema had suffered grenade attacks during the late-night screening of a Pashto film in which five movie-goers were killed and more than 20 were injured. Heavy contingents of police cordoned off the area and kept the people away from the spot.
Rescue 1122 workers had to disconnect the gas supply to the area as a leak after the blast was hampering rescue work. The crowded narrow streets also impeded rescue efforts. Local people and shopkeepers helped shift the injured to the nearby Lady Reading Hospital.
The officials at the Lady Reading Hospital told reporters that nine bodies and 50 wounded were shifted to the hospital after the blast. Police cordoned off the area immediately as the teams of the Rescue 1122 shifted those wounded to the hospital.
The officials of the hospital said at least nine of those wounded in the blast were women while five children were also under treatment.
Some of those killed in the blast were identified as Masam Ali, Hasan Ali, Noor Qamar, Mumtaz Hussain, Sher Agha, Asghar Ali. All of those killed, as per hospital reports, belonged to Parachinar. Among those wounded one person was from Mardan while 49 were from Parachinar, mostly members of the Shia community.
Peshawar is once again under attack despite the preparations now under way for holding peace talks between the government and the militants. The bomb explosion on Sunday night at the Picture House cinema took place hardly a few hundred meters from the site of Tuesday’s blast at the Koocha Risaldar.
Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Chief Minister Pervez Khattak condemned the bomb explosion and ordered the authorities to investigate the incident, compensate the victims and look after the needs of the injured.
Provincial health minister Shaukat Yousafzai also condemned the bomb blast and said the people of Peshawar would have to bravely fight the terrorists as they have been doing until now.
Meanwhile, near Karachi, a four-year-old girl was killed and eight others injured when a bomb exploded at the Ghaggar Phattak.
Police said three coaches of the Shalimar Express overturned and seven were derailed following the powerful explosion caused by an improvised explosive device.
Ambulances and the bomb disposal squad rushed to the scene. Three of the injured, two men and a woman, were admitted to the Jinnah Hospital. The others were rushed to a hospital in Hyderabad.
Agencies add: The Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) condemned the blast in Peshawar.
The TTP spokesman Shahidullah Shahid while speaking to the media from an undisclosed location said the blast was aimed at sabotaging the proposed peace talks between the government and the militant organisation.
He said that the Taliban had nothing to do with the Peshawar blast.
President Mamnoon Hussain, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, PPP patron-in-chief Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif and Sindh Chief Minister Syed Qaim Ali Shah strongly condemned the blasts in Peshawar and Karachi, which claimed innocent lives.
In their separate messages, they expressed sympathy with the bereaved families and prayed that Almighty Allah rest the departed souls in eternal peace and grant courage to the families of victims to bear the loss with equanimity.
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