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

Const. Ian MacDonald says: ‘You don’t want to see anybody carted away in an ambulance over this, and that is a very real possibility. Ric Ernst/PNG

‘It’s pride getting in the way’: Feuding Indo-Canadian youth factions worry Abbotsford cops (w/ video)

JENNIFER SALTMAN  VANCOUVER DESI  No one really knows how the conflict started. According to a number of people who are involved, in February one person…
Continue Reading »

Stone-health-Kaleem

Eight-year-old Indian boy’s swollen hands are larger than his head

VANCOUVER DESI Kaleem, an eight-year-old Indian boy suffering from a mystery condition has puzzled doctors after his hands swelled to giant proportions and are larger…
Continue Reading »

Illegitimate sex

Two sisters from India headed to the gallows for killing nine children may not be executed for some time

VANCOUVER DESI Two sisters from western India headed to the gallows this week would have become first women to be hanged in the country, but…
Continue Reading »

LOCAL NEWS

Vancouver, Toronto, Calgary named among the best places to live: The Economist

BC-Livability-Cities-Survey, 1st Writethru Correction By Linda Nguyen THE CANADIAN PRESS TORONTO — Three Canadian cities — Vancouver, Toronto and Calgary — have been named as…
Continue Reading »

BC Sikhs

Commercial vehicle safety blitz in Toronto targeted minorities: lawyer

ETHAN LOU THE CANADIAN PRESS TORONTO — A commercial vehicle safety blitz that led to the arrest of 21 people for immigration offences targeted minorities…
Continue Reading »

Const. Ian MacDonald says: ‘You don’t want to see anybody carted away in an ambulance over this, and that is a very real possibility. Ric Ernst/PNG

‘It’s pride getting in the way’: Feuding Indo-Canadian youth factions worry Abbotsford cops (w/ video)

JENNIFER SALTMAN  VANCOUVER DESI  No one really knows how the conflict started. According to a number of people who are involved, in February one person…
Continue Reading »

Don't Miss...

Annu Gaidhu

Mississauga beauty Annu Gaidhu crowned Miss India Canada (w/gallery)

VANCOUVER DESI Mississauga’s Annu Gaidhu was crowned Miss India-Canada at the 24th annual pageant in Toronto Saturday evening. The 23-year-old yoga instructor and aspiring child…
Continue Reading »

Best and worst places to live

Vancouver named among the best places to live, Karachi among the worst: The Economist (w/gallery)

LINDA NGUYEN THE CANADIAN PRESS TORONTO — Three Canadian cities — Vancouver, Toronto and Calgary — have been named as some of the best places…
Continue Reading »

Long fares bribe BC

Vancouver taxi driver calls for end to queue-jumping bribe scheme

Network of drivers pays hotel staff to secure long-haul YVR fares JEFF LEE POSTMEDIA NEWS A small clique of drivers at Vancouver Taxi is being…
Continue Reading »

Video footage from a surveillance camera allegedly shows a pickup truck striking Singh. Submitted photo/The Sikh Coalition.

New York police arrest man who injured Sikh father in alleged hate crime

VANCOUVER DESI New York City police arrested a man on Tuesday who allegedly drove his truck over a Sikh father last month, according to the…
Continue Reading »

Jewellery

Treasure hunter finds 50 pieces of jewellery on Mont Blanc from 1966 Air India crash (w/video)

VANCOUVER DESI A French treasure hunter has found 50 pieces of jewellery, including bracelets and necklaces on Mont Blanc belonging to passengers of an Air…
Continue Reading »


Bollywood Latest

Bollywood

Aamir Khan dropped pants for ‘PK’, wonders would Salman Khan follow suit?

IANS Mumbai – It seems Aamir Khan is in the mood to rag his friend and colleague Salman Khan! The former dropped his pants for…
Continue Reading »

Ajay Devgn

‘Singham Returns’ hits jackpot on box office

IANS New Delhi – The combo of Rohit Shetty and Ajay Devgn has once again hit the jackpot – their latest offering “Singham Returns” has…
Continue Reading »

Indian singer Honey Singh

Yo Yo Honey Singh injured on reality show ‘India’s Raw Star’ set

IANS Mumbai – Popular rapper Yo Yo Honey Singh, who will soon be seen in a new singing reality TV show “India’s Raw Star”, fell…
Continue Reading »