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Friday May 17, 2024

Bajaur suicide attack: Police claim headway in probe as death toll rises to 54

CTD says initial probe has led them close to perpetrators of the attack

By Rasool Dawar
July 31, 2023
Security personnel examine the site of a bomb blast in Bajaur district of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province on July 31, 2023. — AFP
Security personnel examine the site of a bomb blast in Bajaur district of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province on July 31, 2023. — AFP

PESHAWAR: The police Monday claimed of making headway in the probe of a deadly suicide blast at the Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl's (JUI-F) workers' convention in Bajaur, while sharing a rise in the death toll from the attack to 54.

A deadly blast rocked the Khar area in the Bajaur district, a former tribal area bordering Afghanistan, on Sunday evening when a suicide bomber blew himself up with the explosives at the JUI-F gathering.

The blast, confirmed by the police as a suicide attack, killed at least 40 people on the spot and left over 100 others injured.

Police said the initial probe suggested that the terrorist organisation Daesh was behind the suicide attack.

Currently, 83 injured people are undergoing treatment at different hospitals, Counter-Terrorism Department's (CTD) Additional Inspector General Shokat Abbas said.

Sharing the investigation update, the official said the convention began at 2pm while the explosion occurred two hours later at 4:10pm.

He said that ball bearings and other stuff used in making the explosives had been found at the site of the explosion.

Abbas further stated that the terrorist group behind the attack had been identified, which had targetted someone "specific" in the gathering.

He said that the initial probe had led the CTD to close to the attack's perpetrators.

Abbas said that many pieces of evidence have been found at the site of the explosion, and forensic reports are being expected soon.

He confirmed that 10-12kg of explosives were used in the blast.

Meanwhile, the KP CTD registered an FIR against unknown suspects on charges of terrorism, murder, attempted murder and others, on behalf of Khar Station House Officer Niaz Mohammad.

Separately, CTD's Bajaur Senior Superintendent (SP) Amjad Khan said investigators visited the crime scene and gathered evidence to further the ongoing investigations.

He said that statements of the injured had been recorded while the process of geo-fencing at the site of the explosion had also been completed.

The United States and Saudi Arabia condemned the deadly suicide blast, with Russia condoling the affected families.

Pakistan has seen a resurgence of attacks by extremists since last year when a ceasefire between the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) and Islamabad broke down. A mosque bombing in Peshawar killed over 100 people earlier this year.

A report submitted to the UN Security Council recently mentioned that the TTP might be seeking a merger with Al Qaeda to create an umbrella organisation that shelters all militant groups operating in South Asia.

Pakistan has long blamed Afghanistan for not living up to its commitment to ensuring that its soil is not used for terrorism in Islamabad, but cross-border militancy continues.

JUI-F chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman demanded that Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif and KP Caretaker Chief Minister Azam Khan investigate the incident.