CHARSADDA: At least seven persons were killed and 19 injured when three suicide bombers attacked a local court in Charsadda, however prompt retaliation from the police deployed outside the court complex foiled what could have been a deadly assault.
One attacker blew himself up outside the court, while two were killed by policemen before they could enter the building.
The three attackers had opened fire on police and thrown grenades as they tried to battle their way into the complex.
Hundreds of people including lawyers, judges and citizens normally attend the court complex.
A foreign wire service, AFP, reported that Jamaat-ul-Ahrar (JuA), a faction of the Pakistani Taliban, claimed responsibility for the attack, telling it was “ongoing”.
#COAS lauds security forces’ response to Charsada Blast. First tier Police response has saved many lives. Shares grief on loss of lives.
— Maj Gen Asif Ghafoor (@OfficialDGISPR) February 21, 2017
DPO Charsadda Sohail Khalid said three suicide bombers attempted to enter the court premises, but police and other law enforcement personnel quickly retaliated and killed the attackers before they could wreak havoc.
Security forces had been on high alert in Pakistan after a wave of attacks killed more than 100 people last week and sparked fears of a militant resurgence.
JuA said they were responsible for several of last week’s attacks including a powerful blast in the eastern city of Lahore which killed 14 people and wounded dozens.
KP Police stopped and killed attackers at the entrance saving hundreds inside. Welldone KP Police!
— Mushtaq Ghani (@MushtaqGhaniPTI) February 21, 2017
KP Health Minister Shahram Khan Tarakai said emergency had been imposed across hospitals in the district.
According to eye witnesses, initially intermittent gunfire was heard from inside the Kacheri Gate.
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s office condemned the latest assault.
“We are a steadfast nation and will not be deterred by such attacks. Our government will continue to fight against terrorist elements and we will succeed,” a statement said.
On February 16, a suicide bomber attacked a crowded Lal Shahbaz Qalandar shrine in Sehwan Sharif, killing more than 80 people and wounding dozens more in the deadliest of a wave of bombings across the country.
The country has been hit by a string of militant bombings and suicide attacks over the past 10 days, killing more than 100 people and wounding hundreds.
The security forces push against terrorism was stepped up after the country’s deadliest ever attack, a TTP assault on Army Public School in Peshawar in 2014 which left more than 150 people dead — mostly children.