At least eight killed, over 20 injured in bombing at the Kocha-e-Risaldar area of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa capital.
At least eight people were killed and 26 injured after a suicide bomb detonated outside a hotel in the Kocha-e-Risaldar area of Peshawar on Tuesday night.
“The blast occurred in the Shia-dominated neighborhood of Qissa Khawani Bazaar,” said senior police official Faisal Mukhtar. “We are examining the nature of the blast and it appears to be a suicide attack.” Shafqat Malik, who leads the Bomb Disposal Unit, confirmed it was a suicide attack.
Shortly after the explosion, law enforcement officials cordoned off the area and transferred all injured to the nearby Lady Reading Hospital. A spokesman for the hospital confirmed the death toll. “We received eight bodies and over 20 injured,” he told journalists. No group has claimed responsibility for the blast yet.
Earlier, a prominent Shia leader was gunned down in Qissa Khwani Bazaar. Haji Sardar Ali, the head of the Tehrik-e-Nafaz-e-Fiqah-e-Jafaria, a Shia rights movement, was gunned down while walking to his shop. Around a hundred Shia Muslims gathered outside the Lady Reading Hospital, where Ali’s body was taken, and chanted slogans demanding the arrest of the attackers. No group has yet claimed responsibility for the killing.
The Pakistani Taliban have denied any involvement in the blast. “We dissociate ourselves from any bombings that occurred in Peshawar in the past two days,” Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan central spokesman Shahidullah Shahid said in an emailed statement. Shahid also claimed that the Jundallah group had no affiliation with the TTP. “Ahmadullah Marwat, who claims responsibility for such blasts on behalf of Jundallah, has no clear link to any mujahideen [of the TTP],” he added.
However, a few hours after Shahid’s statement, Mufti Hassan Swati, the alleged head of the TTP’s Peshawar wing, claimed the attack. Asked why they attacked while talks were going on, Swati said: “The peace talks are under way but there is no ceasefire. We will continue attacks until a ceasefire is announced.”