Eyewitnesses Describe Moment Suicide Bomber on Explosives-Laden Motorbike Kills 11 in Pakistan

VICE News spoke to eyewitnesses who saw the attack, which killed at least five police officers, as well as a child and a local journalist. The Pakistani Taliban have claimed responsibility.
January 19, 2016, 11:10am
Imagen por Arshad Arbab/EPA

A suicide bomber blew himself up close to a police checkpoint in northwestern Pakistan on Tuesday, killing at least 11 people and wounding more than 30, according to authorities.

An official told VICE News: "At least 11 people were killed and 31 others injured as a suicide bomber blew himself up near a check post in Peshawar's Karkhano Market, adjacent to Jamrud in Khyber Agency."

The dead included a paramilitary force officer, a local journalist, and a 7-year-old boy, according to the official.

Eye witness RabNawaz Shah Afridi told VICE News: "I heard a loud blast and then firing which created panic… Everyone was running to save their lives." He said that when the firing stopped he saw that several private vehicles near the blast site had caught fire.

A local shopkeeper, Amir Shah Afridi, said that a few minutes before the blast he had met journalist Mehbood Shad Afridi. Shortly afterwards Mehbood walked towards Khasdar officials. He was standing with them when the blast occurred, killing both the journalist and the men he was standing with.

An official told VICE News that Mehbood had been the president of the Tribal Union of Journalists.

Pakistani rescue workers stand beside the bodies of victims who were killed in a bomb blast, at a local hospital in Peshawar. (Photo by Arshad Arbab/EPA)

Shahab Ali Shah, a spokesperson for the authorities, said: "Eleven people were confirmed to have died in the blast, among which five are Khasadar force officials."

Munir Khan, another Khyber Agency local official, told VICE News that the bomber was riding an explosives-laden motorcycle and hit the checkpoint and the vehicle of the line officer who was on duty there.

The Pakistani Taliban senior commander Maqbool Dawar claimed responsibility for the attack. He told Reuters it was revenge for what he alleged were the recent deaths of arrested Taliban men while in government custody, and said that the journalist was not the target.

A Taliban splinter group also claimed it was behind the bomb.

Members of the Pakistani security services inspect the site of the bomb blast. (Photo by Arshad Arbab/EPA)

The attack took place in an area where security forces have stepped up their fight against the Taliban and other militant groups along the border with Afghanistan, following the massacre of more than 150 people, mostly children, at an army-run school in December 2014.

Attacks have fallen since the government crackdown and the Taliban squeezed into small pockets of territory, but militant groups remain able to launch hit-and-run and suicide attacks on security forces.

A spokesperson for the Hayatabad Medical Complex in nearby Peshawar, to where the wounded were evacuated, said earlier that the hospital had received six bodies, including that of a child.

Last month, a suicide bomber attacked a government office in northwestern Pakistan, killing at least 23 people.

Reuters contributed to this report.

_Follow Mohammad Zubair Khan on Twitter: _@HazaraZubair