Official reports 3 killed in explosion near a police complex in northwest Pakistan; 25 wounded

By Riaz Khan, AP
Tuesday, September 7, 2010

3 dead in blast at police complex in NW Pakistan

PESHAWAR, Pakistan — A large explosion ripped through a police compound in a northwestern Pakistani city Tuesday evening, killing at least three people and wounding 25, a local official said.

The complex in the garrison city of Kohat houses officers’ homes, a training facility and a commercial area.

Police officer Mumtaz Khan said three bodies had been recovered from the rubble of toppled homes and at least 25 were hurt, including women and children.

Khan said the death toll could rise as many were still trapped in the destroyed houses.

Officer Mohammad Arif said there was a huge explosion in the residential area of the compound soon after the evening breaking of the daily fast during the Islamic holy month of Ramadan. Power to the area was cut, forcing emergency workers to search for any victims in the dark, he said.

“There was a massive blast and due to the darkness it is not yet known what the extent of damage and loss of life is,” he said.

Kohat, the major town on the road between the provincial capital of Peshawar and several tribal areas, has been the scene of several militant attacks this year. In April, two burqa-clad suicide bombers attacked refugees lined up to register for food and other relief supplies in the district, killing 41 people and wounding dozens more.

“This city is a war zone. We would always expect such attacks,” said Khalid Omarzai, a top local official .

The Pakistani Taliban has claimed responsibility for a series of recent attacks across the nation aimed at destabilizing the country and weakening a civilian government already struggling with a massive flooding that has displaced millions and caused widespread destruction.

The deadliest have targeted minority Shiite Muslims. A suicide bombing killed at least 43 Shiite Muslims at a procession in the southwestern city of Quetta on Friday. Two days earlier, a triple suicide attack killed 35 people at a Shiite ceremony in the eastern city of Lahore.

On Monday, a Taliban suicide bomber detonated a car in an alley behind a police station in a strategically important town in northwestern Pakistan, killing at least 17 police and civilians in an explosion that shattered the station and neighboring homes.

About 40 people were wounded in the attack in Lakki Marwat, which sits on the main road between Punjab province, Pakistan’s largest and most prosperous, and the North and South Waziristan tribal regions.

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