Peshawar: A Taliban suicide bomber today rammed his explosives-laden vehicle into a police building near the US consulate here killing at least nine policemen as terror fury continued to hit Pakistan since the US raid that killed al-Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden.
The bomber, said by police to be carrying more than 300 kg of high-grade explosives, hit the three-storey police building on University Road, which houses the office of the Criminal Investigation Department, flattening the complex and leaving about 38 others injured.
Senior Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Minister Bashir Bilour confirmed that the attack was carried out by a suicide car bomber.
Police said they fear the toll may go up as large number of people are still trapped under the debris. The blast was so powerful that it was heard 10 kms away and also damaged nearby buildings which house police officials.
A Taliban spokesperson claimed responsibility for the attack, local television news channels said and was fourth terror attack carried out the militants since the May 2 killing.
The attack took place inside a protected military zone in Peshawar which is a gateway to Pakistan’s restive tribal areas bordering Afghnaistan.
“About 300 kg of explosives was used in the attack. The engine of the bomber’s vehicle landed 350 feet away and his body was blown to bits. Only one finger of the bomber has been found,” Bilour told reporters after visiting the site of the attack.
The powerful blast occurred at 4.45 am local time. Army soldiers and policemen cordoned off the area and sealed the University Road. Footage on television channels showed heavy machinery being used to remove the debris of the police building.
The attack came barely three days after a group of Taliban fighters sneaked into a naval airbase in the southern port city of Karachi and killed 10 security personnel and destroyed two maritime surveillance aircraft.
The police building targeted today is located about a kilometre from the US consulate.
Last week, a US Consulate vehicle convoy was targeted with a car bomb. One person was killed and over a dozen were injured though Americans were not among the dead or seriously wounded.
Nearly 90 people, most of them paramilitary recruits, were killed when two suicide bombers struck a Frontier Constabulary training centre in northwest Pakistan on May 13.
The Taliban claimed responsibility for that attack too, saying it was carried out to take revenge for bin Laden’s killing.