Authorities say the terrorists planned to hit a high-value target in the city before being stopped for inspection
Islamabad has been placed on high alert after a suspected terrorist blew himself up inside a taxi after he was detained for inspection by police on Friday. Authorities say the attackers planned to hit a high-value target in the Pakistani capital.
Dr Khalid Masood, director of the Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences, reported that three people, including a policeman, were killed in the incident and 10 others injured, according to Geo News.
Deputy General Operations Inspector Sohail Zafar Chattha told reporters at the scene that the assailant blew himself up when members of the so-called Eagle Squad stopped a suspicious car.
“While he was being checked by officers, he entered the vehicle under a pretext and then blew himself up,” he added. Chattha said, adding that there was also a woman in the vehicle who was suspected of being an accomplice.
“Police personnel saved Islamabad from a major disaster with courage and presence of mind”, Chattha said, adding that four other officers were injured in the attack.
Meanwhile, Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah said officials believed the terrorists intended to attack a high-value target and break into an important building such as Parliament, the Supreme Court or the residence of the Prime Minister. He noted that if the car had not been stopped for an inspection, there could have been many more casualties.
Pakistani Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif responded to the blast by demanding a full report and paying tribute to the slain policeman. “The plan to shed innocent blood failed due to law enforcement action,” he said, adding that he would send a so-called martyr’s package to the officer’s family.
A local Taliban faction, Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), claimed responsibility for the attack. The group, which shares the ideology of the Afghan Taliban, says its ultimate goal is to overthrow the government and establish Sharia in Pakistan.
The TTP has claimed responsibility for numerous acts of terrorism in the country and has stepped up attacks on security forces since November, when it unilaterally ended a months-long ceasefire with the Pakistani government. TPP spokesman Mohammed Halid Khurasani said the latest bombing was carried out by one of the group’s militants in revenge for the killing of a senior TPP leader in August.
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