A suicide car bombing at a checkpoint in Pakistan’s capital, Islamabad, has killed at least one police officer and wounded several other people, according to officials.
The Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) armed group, also known as the Pakistani Taliban, claimed responsibility for Friday’s attack in a text message sent to a Reuters news agency reporter.
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The bombing took place near the police headquarters on a main road that leads to government buildings housing the country’s parliament and high offices. At least four police officers and two civilians were wounded in the blast, according to reports.
The car that was used in the attack was packed with explosives and headed for a high-value target in Islamabad, the interior ministry said in a statement, without giving any other details.
“Our initial information says that there was a man and a woman in the car,” Sohail Zafar, Islamabad operations police chief, told reporters. The car did not stop at the checkpoint when police tried to halt it, he said.
“As they chased it, the people inside the car blew it up. It was a suicide blast,” added Zafar.
Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah told Geo News TV that had “the car reached its target, it would have caused heavy losses”.
The capital was on high alert due to threats of such an attack, and a big tragedy was averted with timely intervention, the minister said.
The TTP has been fighting Pakistan’s government since 2007 and has carried out dozens of attacks aimed at civilians and security forces across the country.
Friday’s bombing came two days after a Pakistani military operation killed dozens of TTP fighters after a standoff at a counterterrorism facility in Bannu, in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province.