Islamabad: At least 10 people were killed on Tuesday when militants used a powerful car bomb to target a residential colony for police personnel at Kohat in northwest Pakistan, continuing a wave of terror strikes across the country.
Attackers detonated the explosives shortly after ‘iftar’, the evening meal to break the fast during Ramzan.
About 30 quarters in the colony, for low-ranking police personnel, collapsed due to the powerful blast that was heard from several kilometres away.
Ten bodies were pulled out of the debris, TV news channels quoted witnesses as saying. Many children and women were among the injured.
Witnesses said they had seen a car in the vicinity of the colony before the blast.
Kohat commissioner Khalid Khan told the media that the actual target of the attackers may have been the police lines, which is located near the residential colony.
Power supply to the area was disrupted by the blast, affecting rescue operations. The injured were rushed to hospitals in Kohat, which declared an emergency. Officials said they feared the death toll could rise.
The police cordoned off the area and launched a search operation.
TV news channels quoted their sources as saying that intelligence agencies had issued a warning that militants could carry out terrorist attacks across Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province in the run up to the Eid-ul-Fitr festival.
The police in Kohat had stepped up patrolling and checking at check posts over the past few days following the reports of possible attacks.
Pakistan’s northwest has witnessed an upsurge in militant violence, including suicide attacks, in the past few days following a relative lull during the floods that devastated the region.
A suicide bomber had rammed his explosives-laden vehicle into a police station in Lakki Marwat in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province yesterday, killing at least 20 people, including 11 policemen and four schoolchildren.
Over 100 people were killed over last week in two suicide bombings targeting Shia processions in Lahore and Quetta.