Authorities say terrorists had planned to hit a high-value target in the city before being stopped for an inspection
Islamabad has been placed on high alert after a suspected terrorist detonated himself inside a taxi after it was stopped for an inspection by police on Friday. Authorities claim the attackers planned to strike a high-value target in the Pakistan capital.
Dr Khalid Masood, Director of the Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences, reported that three people including a police officer were killed in the incident, and 10 others injured, according to Geo News.
Sohail Zafar Chattha, Deputy Inspector of General Operations, told reporters at the scene that the attacker blew himself up when members of the so-called Eagle Squad stopped a suspicious car.
“While being checked by officers, he went inside the vehicle on some pretext and then detonated himself,” Chattha said, adding that there was also a woman in the vehicle, believed to have been an accomplice.
“Police personnel saved Islamabad from a major disaster with courage and presence of mind,” said Chattha, adding that four other officers were injured in the attack.
Meanwhile, Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah has said officials believe the terrorists had plans to attack a high-value target and enter an important building such as Parliament House, the Supreme Court or the prime minister’s residence. He noted that if the car had not been stopped for an inspection, there could have been many more casualties.
Pakistani Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif reacted to the blast by demanding a full report and paying tribute to the killed police officer. “The plan to shed innocent blood has failed due to the action of the law enforcement agencies,” he said, adding that he would send a so-called martyr’s package to the officer’s family.
A local Taliban faction, Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), has claimed the attack. The group, which shares the ideology of the Afghan Taliban, says its ultimate goal is to overthrow the government and establish Sharia law in Pakistan.
The TTP has claimed responsibility for numerous acts of terrorism in the country and has stepped up attacks on security forces since November, when it unilaterally ended a months-long ceasefire with the Pakistani government. TPP spokesman Mohammed Halid Khurasani has said the latest bombing was carried out by one of the group’s militants in revenge for the killing of a senior TPP leader in August.