PESHAWAR: Additional inspector general (AIGP) Mohammad Ashraf Noor was martyred while six other policemen were injured in a suicide blast in the provincial capital’s Hayatabad area on Friday morning.
Police said a suicide bomber riding a motorbike rammed into the vehicle of AIGP Headquarters Mohammad Ashraf Noor near Tatara Park in the city’s posh locality of Hayatabad and detonated his explosive.
The vehicle was engulfed in flame, killing Noor on the spot while six other policemen sustained injuries, a police official said.
Live footage of the blast site showed thick cloud of smoke rising from the vehicle.
Rescue officials said the deceased and injured have been shifted to Hayatabad Medical Complex.
Following the blast, a strong contingent of security forces reached the blast site and cordoned it off for security reasons.
There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the blast.
Later speaking to the media at the blast site, the CCPO Peshawar said the AIG Ashraf Noor was the target of the terrorist attack. The body parts of the suicide bomber were found at the site, he added.
He said terrorist activities have declined by 70 per cent in the province.
Condemnations pour in
Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi has strongly condemned the blast.
In a statement, he lauded the sacrifices of police personnel in the fight against terrorism and said that such acts of terrorism cannot dent the resolve of the law-enforcement agencies and the nation in taking the fight against terrorism to its logical conclusion.
He prayed for eternal peace of the departed souls and grant of courage to the bereaved families to bear this irreparable loss.
Interior Minister Ahsan Iqbal also condemned the suicide attack on Additional IG Police KP Ashraf Noor and expressed sympathy with the bereaved family. He said the nation stands united for eliminating terrorism from the country.
PTI chief Imran Khan and KP Chief Minister Pervez Khattak also condemned the incident.
A renewed resolve to wipe out terror
In February this year, the army announced the launch of a new nationwide military offensive, codenamed Radd-ul-Fasaad, with an aim to eliminate remnants of terrorists.
The decision to mount the operation was taken at a high-level meeting chaired by army chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa at the corps headquarters in Lahore after a recent spate of killings before that month.
“The operation aimed at indiscriminately eliminating residual/latent threat of terrorism, consolidating gains of operations made thus far and further ensuring security of the borders,
Operation Radd-ul-Fassad was being launched as continuation of the National Action Plan approved after the massacre in Army Public School, Peshawar in December 2014.
Since then, several small and large operations were conducted across different cities, mainly those in the Khyber Pakhtonkhwa and Fata where militants were believed to have taken shelter.
In August, army had announce suscceful completion of a month-long Khyber-4 operation in Rajgal Valley in which 52 terrorists were killed and five arrested by the armed forces.