Insurgents belonging to a Pakistan-based Taliban group have claimed responsibility for a suicide attack in Pakistan’s northwestern city of Peshawar early on Wednesday, killing at least six people including a police official and wounding 36 others.
A spokesman from the group, known as Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), said the blast targeted a police investigator named Hilal Haider, alleging the official has previously tortured Taliban suspects during interrogation.
"We killed him today in Peshawar because he was behind the arrest of some of our fighters," spokesman Ahsanullah Ahsan said from an undisclosed location, according to AFP news agency.
Police official Badshah Khan told Pakistan-based Dawn News that the on-foot bomber targeted Haider’s vehicle of outside of a police station.
Police official Asif Iqbal talked to the newspaper’s sources at the site of attack and said the bomber used six to seven kilograms of explosives which shattered through a congested area of Qissa Khawani Bazar in the Peshawar city. Security forces cordoned off the area as investigations into the incident went underway.
The troubled city of Peshawar lies near the belt of Pakistan’s lawless tribal areas on the Afghanistan border that is frequently hit by bombings. The city has recently witnessed a spill of deadly violence due to a stronghold of Taliban and al-Qaeda insurgents, who are rapidly penetrating in the region.
Witness Amin Khan told AFP news agency that the bomber struck when he was in a rickshaw, going to the local market.
"Suddenly a deafening blast shook the area. My rickshaw was overturned. When I came out I saw smoke and dust had covered the blast site," Khan said. Other witnesses said they saw blood and body parts on the street.
A hospital spokesperson told Dawn News that 36 were wounded from the blast, of which six are in a critical state.