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Pakistan: Islamabad car bombing kills police officer

December 23, 2022

Pakistan said a "bloodbath" was averted as suicide bombers carried out the attack before reaching the suspected target. The Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan militant group claimed responsibility for the bombing.

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The view of rescue workers collecting remains at the site of the explosion photographed from inside a car behind shattered glass
Pakistani leaders say law enforcement's timely intervention prevented the blast from killing more peopleImage: Anjum Naveed/AP/picture-alliance

Pakistani authorities said on Friday that suspected militants carried out a suicide attack in Islamabad, killing a police officer. 

The Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) militant group, which has links to the Afghan Taliban, claimed responsibility for the latest bombing following a series of attacks in recent weeks. 

But it was the first suicide bombing in years to hit Islamabad. The capital has been largely spared from attacks carried out in cities like Lahore and Karachi, as well as border areas near Afghanistan.

What we know about the attack

Police officers chased a suspicious taxi after its driver sped through a checkpoint, officials said. 

"Our initial information says that there was a man and a woman in the car," Islamabad operations police chief, Sohail Zafar, told reporters.

The suspected militants detonated a bomb during the chase, Zafar added. "It was a suicide blast."

Investigators collect evidence from the wreckage of a car at the site of bomb explosion
The blast raised fears that militants have a presence in one of the country's safest citiesImage: Anjum Naveed/AP/picture-alliance

According to the Interior Ministry, the car was headed for a high-value target in the Pakistani capital. "Had the car reached its target, it would have caused heavy losses," Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah told Geo News TV.

"Law enforcement's timely intervention averted a bloodbath," Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif said in a statement.

What is the security situation in Pakistan? 

Attacks targeting security forces, mostly along the border with Afghanistan, have risen over the past year

Earlier this week, security forces killed 33 hostage-takers who had seized a police station in northwestern Pakistan.

Pakistan's Defense Minister Khawaja Muhammad Asif said that terrorism was "on the rise again" as he called for a new security operation against the TTP. 

"There's a spillover effect from the situation in Afghanistan and that's affecting Pakistan, we have to launch this operation." 

Deadly border clashes between Afghanistan and Pakistan

fb/wd (AFP, AP, Reuters)