20 killed As Bombers Hit ISI Office, Police Station In NWFP

Suicide bombers on Friday struck Pakistan's powerful ISI hitting its operational headquarters in northwestern city of Peshawar and a police station nearby in Bannu, killing 20 people, including seven personnel of the spy agency.  The
20 killed as bombers hit isi office police...
PTI November 13, 2009 16:23 IST

Suicide bombers on Friday struck Pakistan's powerful ISI hitting its operational headquarters in northwestern city of Peshawar and a police station nearby in Bannu, killing 20 people, including seven personnel of the spy agency. 

The strike on the spy agency overseeing Pakistan's anti-terror campaign and on the police station left 85 people wounded and came as 30,000 troops were pressing Taliban and foreign militants in their stronghold in lawless Waziristan.

A suicide attacker rammed his explosives-laden truck into the gate of the ISI office within the cantonment of Peshawar city at 6.40 am, killing at least 12 people and injuring 60 others, police said.  The bomber's car was packed with about 200 kg of explosives, IGP Malik Naveed Khan told reporters. 

Though the well-armed guards opened fire on the car to stop it, the attacker rammed his vehicle into the three-storey building reducing it to rubble, police said.  The blast brought down the front and middle portion of the building and its sound was so loud it could be heard up to 20 km away. Bodies lay strewen on the road and police fired in the air to keep the onlookers away till the bodies were taken to hospital.  Just an hour later, a second suicide bomber detonated his explosives-laden mini truck near the main police station at Bakakhel in Bannu district of NWFP, killing eight persons and injuring 25 others.

Today's attack was the second strike on the Pakistan's powerful and shadowy military spy agency ISI over the past two months. The agency's office complex was earlier attacked in Lahore in which about three dozen people were killed.  Hospital officials said they had received nine bodies while three persons succumbed to their injuries after being brought in by rescue workers. Among the dead were seven security personnel. 

The ISI office on Khyber Road that was targeted is located a short distance from an army stadium and the official residences of several dignitaries, including the Governor and Chief Minister of the North West Frontier Province.  Witnesses said the explosion was preceded by firing. Plumes of smoke and dust rose into the winter sky after the blast, which also smashed the windows of nearby buildings. 

In the second attack, two constables were among the dead while 20 security personnel were injured. The police station, located on a strategic road leading to Miranshah in North Waziristan, was destroyed and several persons were feared to be buried in the rubble, officials said.  An indefinite curfew was imposed in the area. Schools in Peshawar were closed after the attack on ISI office. Police sealed off Khyber Road, one of the city's main thoroughfares, as investigators scoured the site of the blast for clues.  No group claimed responsibility for today's attacks though officials pointed the finger of blame at the Taliban, against whom the army is currently conducting an operation in South Waziristan. PTI

 
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