PESHAWAR, Pakistan, Jan 19 – A suicide bomber blew himself up close to a police checkpoint in northwestern Pakistan on Tuesday, killing at least 10 people and wounding more than 20, officials said.
The bomber rammed his motorcycle into a police vehicle next to the roadside checkpoint in the Jamrud area on the edge of Pakistan’s volatile Federally Administered Tribal Areas, local government official Munir Khan told Reuters.
“He was riding an explosives-laden motorcycle and hit the checkpoint and the vehicle of the line officer,” Khan said.
Among the dead were at least five police officers including the line officer whose vehicle was targeted by the bomber, as well as a child and a local journalist, officials said. TV footage showed the burnt-out remains of cars as rescue workers rushed to evacuate the wounded.
The Pakistani Taliban senior commander Maqbool Dawar claimed responsibility for the attack. He told Reuters it was revenge for what he alleged were the recent deaths of arrested Taliban men while in government custody, and said that the journalist was not the target.
A Taliban splinter group also claimed it was behind the bomb.
The attack took place in an area where security forces have stepped up their fight against the Taliban and other militant groups along the border with Afghanistan, following the massacre of more than 150 people, mostly children, at an army-run school in December 2014.
Attacks have fallen since the government crackdown and the Taliban squeezed into small pockets of territory, but militant groups remain able to launch hit-and-run and suicide attacks on security forces.
A spokesperson for the Hayatabad Medical Complex in nearby Peshawar, to where the wounded were evacuated, said earlier that the hospital had received six bodies, including that of a child.
Last month, a suicide bomber attacked a government office in northwestern Pakistan, killing at least 23 people.