Gunmen, suicide bombers attack court complex in Pakistani capital, killing 11

Published: March 2, 2014

Pakistani police officials inspect a local court building after a gun and suicide attack in Islamabad on March 3, 2014. AAMIR QURESHI/AFP/Getty Images

ZARAR KHAN
THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan — A group of armed men, including two suicide attackers, stormed a court complex in the Pakistani capital on Monday in a rare terror attack in the heart of Islamabad that killed 11 people and wounded dozens.

There were conflicting reports on how many attackers were involved in the incident. Initial reports suggested two men wearing explosive vests rushed into the court complex, threw hand grenades and started shooting, then blew themselves up, said Islamabad Police Chief Sikander Hayat.

He put the death toll at 11 as did another police official and a hospital spokeswoman where the dead were taken.

“It was certainly an act of terrorism,” Hayat said in televised comments to reporters.

One of the attackers blew himself up outside the office of the lawyers’ union president and the other outside the door of a judge’s office, said Hayat.

The explosions sent lawyers and judges running in fear for their lives as police stormed in. Hayat said police subsequently searched the entire complex and found no additional attackers.

Other officials and a lawyer on the scene said there were more than two attackers. Police official Jamil Hashmi said there were about six to eight attackers who spread into different areas of the court complex.

“One of the attackers entered a courtroom and shot and killed a judge,” Hashmi said. “We are searching whether there are any other attackers or some wounded people needing help.”

Lawyer Murad Ali said he saw several attackers walking toward a courtroom, brandishing weapons.

“They had automatic weapons. They had hand grenades,” he said. “I saw them shooting a female lawyer.”

His hands were splattered in blood that he said came from helping remove four dead bodies.

The dead included two judges and five lawyers, said Dr. Altaf at the Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences in Islamabad where the dead and wounded were taken. Altaf, who spoke to television reporters and only gave his family name, said most of the victims had bullet wounds. He said 25 were wounded, five of them critically.

The area where the attack occurred is a warren of walkways filled with judges’ chambers, lawyers’ offices and restaurants and businesses catering to the legal community. The walkways are filled with copying machines for clerks and clients to make copies of legal documents, and prisoners wearing chains can often be seen walking through the complex on their way to and from court. Families of suspects on trial also often stand around the area, waiting for their loved ones to appear in court.

Pakistani television showed images of the area with windows blown out, walls torn and lawyers wearing the traditional black suit worn by all Pakistani lawyers carrying what appeared to be dead and wounded from the buildings. Policemen with weapons raised ran through the area and searched offices.

Body parts and blood were spread over a stretch outside the courtrooms and attorney’s offices. The police cordoned off the complex, which was taken over by the commandos from the police anti-terrorist force.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attack, which came as a shock to a city that has enjoyed a respite from the frequent bombings and shootings prevalent in other Pakistani cities like Peshawar near the tribal areas or the port city of Karachi.

The attack is sure to complicate government efforts to negotiate a peace settlement with militants in the country’s northwest who have waged a bloody war against the government for years.

The Pakistani Taliban said Saturday they would implement a one-month ceasefire in an effort to revive a foundering peace process.

Pakistani people comfort each other as they gather to receive the bodies of suicide bomb attack victims outside a hospital in Islamabad on March 3, 2014. FAROOQ NAEEM/AFP/Getty Images

A spokesman for the militant organization said in a telephone call to an Associated Press reporter that the group was not involved in the Islamabad attack and restated his group’s commitment to the ceasefire.

But Monday’s deadly attack highlights the difficulty in negotiating a peace deal with a multi-faceted group like the Pakistani Taliban, made up of varying factions. Analysts say that while some in the group may want to negotiate a peace deal, other factions may not, making it difficult to enforce a peace deal across all the factions. The cease-fire did not include other groups, such as al-Qaida, that operate in Pakistan.

—-

Associated Press writer Ishtiaq Mahsud in Dera Ismail Khan and Asif Shahzad

02:39ET 03-03-14

[+]

Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,



Readers Comments (0)

Comments are closed.

Featured

india flag2

Sporting fans disappointed as Indian flag depicted upside down in Commonwealth Games promotional video

VANCOUVER DESI India is already making headlines as the Commonwealth Games officially kick off in Glasgow – but not for sporting-related reasons. In an official…
Continue Reading »

CABS1

Heaving, hurling taxi patrons will now be charged a $75 cleanup fine

THE CANADIAN PRESS If you’re feeling queasy, step away from the cab. That’s the advice from taxi drivers across British Columbia after the province’s Passenger…
Continue Reading »

INDIA_RAPE_PROTEST_217126232

Angry villagers mob alleged suspects after another girl found hanging from tree in India

KOUSHIK DUTTA HINDUSTAN TIMES A 7-year-old girl was found raped, murdered and hanging from a tree in West Bengal on Thursday, resurfacing horrific memories from…
Continue Reading »

LOCAL NEWS

CABS1

Heaving, hurling taxi patrons will now be charged a $75 cleanup fine

THE CANADIAN PRESS If you’re feeling queasy, step away from the cab. That’s the advice from taxi drivers across British Columbia after the province’s Passenger…
Continue Reading »

Homicide investigators are on scene at a stabbing in Surrey.

Homicide investigators on scene of stabbing in Surrey

VANCOUVER DESI A man is dead following an early morning stabbing in Surrey. Surrey RCMP were called to the 10600-block 135A Street in Whalley shortly…
Continue Reading »

Vancouver restaurateur Vikram Vij poses with Barinder Rasode at his new South Surrey restaurant My Shanti at an event Thursday night. Submitted photo.

Will Vikram Vij’s ‘support’ be enough to push Barinder Rasode into Surrey mayoralty ring?

LARISSA CAHUTE VANCOUVER DESI Still yet to officially announce a bid for mayor this fall, Surrey city councillor Barinder Rasode had an endorsement party of…
Continue Reading »

Don't Miss...

child abuse

Indian kidnappers agree to handover boy to parents on condition of swapping him for his sister

CEN AGENCY In a bizarre demand, parents of an Indian boy who has been kidnapped, were told that they could have youngster back if they…
Continue Reading »

232-teeth tumour gum

Indian teen boy gets 232 teeth removed from “very rare” tumour in his jaw

VANCOUVER DESI A 17-year-old boy in India underwent a seven-hour long operation on Monday to have a whopping 232 teeth removed from a “very rare”…
Continue Reading »

basketball

Indian minister criticizes ‘no-headgear’ rule after Sikh basketball players told to remove turbans during Asia Cup

THE ASSOCIATED PRESS NEW DELHI — India’s sports minister has criticized the ‘no-headgear’ rule of basketball’s world body FIBA after two Sikh players on the…
Continue Reading »

Greece

Tipsy British tourist asked to leave church after mistaking it for a disco

CEN AGENCY A tipsy British tourist had to be asked to leave a church in Crete where he started dancing after local kids told him…
Continue Reading »

Surrey-weight lifter-Commonwealth Games-Glasgow

Surrey weightlifter Parm Phangura bound for Commonwealth Games

MICHAEL BOOTH SURREY NOW FLEETWOOD — 163+205=368. That stark equation scrawled in the top corner of a chalkboard means little to a casual observer, but…
Continue Reading »


Bollywood Latest

Priyanka Chopra

Priyanka Chopra fought with professional boxers while shooting Mary Kom

IANS Mumbai  – Actress Priyanka Chopra fought with real boxers in Mary Kom, a biopic on the five time World Champion boxer. She says it…
Continue Reading »

Bollywood

Akshay Kumar to host dance reality show Dare 2 Dance

IANS Gurgaon  – Bollywood action hero Akshay Kumar, who has played host of TV adventure reality series Fear Factor: Khatron Ke Khiladi in the past,…
Continue Reading »

INDIA-ARTS-CINEMA-BOLLYWOOD

What stunt scared Jacqueline Fernandez the most while filming Kick?

IANS Mumbai — Superstar Salman Khan has done a lot of action and stunts in Kick and the film’s leading lady Jacqueline Fernandez says that…
Continue Reading »