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Fatalities Reported In Attack On Court Complex In Northwest Pakistan

  • RFE/RL

At least four people have been killed and dozens more injured in a militant attack on courthouses in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar.

The city's police chief, Imtiaz Altaf, told journalists that the assault ended after both attackers were killed.

"Two terrorists entered the court complex after shooting three police officers at the main gate,” Altaf said. “They reached the main building. Both are dead now. One detonated his suicide vest while police shot dead the other one. There are no hostages and there are no terrorists inside the premises of the judicial complex."

Officials say that most casualties happened inside the courtroom of a female judge after the bomber detonated his explosives.

Police officer Mohammad Arshad Khan said the female judge was among the injured.

Altaf added that the police had examined the closed-cicuit TV footage after the attacks, which confirmed that only two attackers were involved.

The attack on March 18 came during early afternoon as thousands of petitioners, lawyers, and judges worked in the largest court complex in the northwestern Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province.

Peshawar is surrounded by tribal territories on three sides and is frequently targeted by the Taliban and allied extremists.

This attack follows a February 18 attack in Peshawar when militants killed six people inside the office of a senior official.

The court complex is heavily guarded and surrounded by important civilian and military offices.

According to Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Information Minister Mian Iftikhar Hussain, the terrorist attack was an attempt to sabotage the calm atmosphere that has prevailed ahead of upcoming parliamentary elections.

Tens of millions of Pakistani voters are due to elect a government and parliament by mid-May in a country that has a population of 180 million people.

Frequent Taliban attacks, targeted assassinations and, in particular, devastating bombings in Shi'ite neighborhoods in major cities have raised concerns about security for the voting.

With reporting Reuters, AP, AFP, and tribune.com.pk
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