Bomb kills at least 12 people outside Pakistani court

Attack comes hours after militants attacked a Christian neighbourhood killing one civilian

Pakistani local residents inspect the site of a  bomb attack at a district court in Mardan on September 2nd, 2016. Photograph: A Majeeda Majeed/Getty Images

Pakistani local residents inspect the site of a bomb attack at a district court in Mardan on September 2nd, 2016. Photograph: A Majeeda Majeed/Getty Images

 

Two bombs killed at least 12 people and wounded dozens outside a court complex in northwest Pakistan, a rescue official said, hours after militants from a Pakistani Taliban faction attacked a Christian neighbourhood in the same region.

The bodies of lawyers, policemen and civilians were recovered from the blast site, said Haris Habib, chief rescue officer in the city of Mardan in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province. “First there was a small blast followed by a big blast,” Mr Habib told Reuters.

No one immediately claimed responsibility for the attack.

Attack on Christian colony

Earlier in the day, gunmen wearing suicide vests stormed a Christian colony near the town of Peshawar on Friday, killing one civilian.

Militants stormed the Christian neighbourhood early on Friday morning, triggering a shoot-out in which four attackers were killed and one Christian died, police and the military said. Three security officials and two civilian guards were wounded in the attack.

Army spokesman Asim Saleem Bajwa said the attack was quickly repulsed and that security forces were searching for any accomplices.

Local police official Shaukat Khan said four suicide bombers entered the Christian colony. One of them went into a church, but no one was there at the time.

He said the attackers killed one Christian in the neighbourhood. It was not clear if any of the suicide bombers had detonated their explosives.

The quick response from the local civilian guards and security forces prevented more deaths, Khan said.

Ahsanullah Ahsan, a spokesman for Jamaat-ul-Ahrar, a breakaway Taliban faction, claimed responsibility for the attack.

Pakistan has been struck by a number of large-scale militant attacks in recent months, including a March suicide bombing targeting Christians celebrating Easter in a park in the city of Lahore that killed around 70 people.

Jamaat-ul-Ahrar claimed responsibility for the bombing and warned of further attacks.

Christians are a tiny minority in the majority Muslim nation. While some Christians live in Muslim areas, many choose to live together in Christian-only neighbourhoods.

On Friday, Pakistani prime minister Nawaz Sharif issued statements condemning both attacks, saying “these cowardly attacks cannot shatter our unflinching resolve in our war against terrorism”.

AP