A suicide bomber detonated his explosives on Tuesday in Peshawar outside a press club leaving three people dead in the latest attack in Pakistan.
Peshawar’s police chief, Liaqat Ali Khan said that a policeman tried to search the attacker as he approached the Peshawar Press Club’s gate, but the man resisted and then triggered his explosives, killing the officer at the spot. The press club is a landmark in the city and may have been attacked due to the vital role the journalists have played in the war by exposing terrorists.
The other two people who died include an accountant who worked for the organization, and a woman who died of cardiac arrest, said Sahib Gul, a doctor from the hospital the bodies were brought to.
Adil Khan, a local photographer who was inside the press club when the attack occurred, said he heard the police officer at the gate, Muhammad Riaz, trying to force the bomber to submit to a search.
“Suddenly a big explosion occurred and smoke made me unable to see immediately what happened,” said Khan. “After a while, I saw Riaz and accountant Mian Iqbal lying dead in a pool of blood and there were some scattered body parts.”
Almost seventeen people were reported to be injured by the blast. Most people injured were those from a bus entering the press club.
The blast blew out the press club’s windows and peppered the walls with shrapnel, while also damaging several surrounding buildings.
Peshawar has been hit by at least seven attacks in the past two months in retaliation for a military offensive launched in mid-October against the militant stronghold of South Waziristan in Pakistan’s law-less tribal area near the Afghan border. A single attack in late October in a market popular with women and children in Peshawar killed 112 people.
A provincial labor minister had been scheduled to hold a news conference at the club later Tuesday, said the organization’s president, Shamim Shahid.
He praised Riaz, the police officer who prevented the bomber from entering the building.
“The policeman averted a major incident by sacrificing his life,” said Shahid.
The chief minister of the province, Amir Haider Khan Hoti, described the bombing as an attack on press freedom.
“We salute the media for … exposing militants and their acts against innocent people,” he said, adding that “terrorists are becoming desperate as they know they are losing this war, so they are attacking the media directly.”