Over a dozen people were killed in a suicide bomb attack in an arms market in the north-western town of Dara Adam Khel on Saturday morning. No outfit had claimed responsibility for the attack till late in the evening but police say a pro-government tribal lashkar (militia) may have been the target of the attack at the Firdous Arms Market.

The lashkar was one of the many such tribal militia created by the government to take on the Taliban locally. The Express Tribune newspaper quoted the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) spokesman for Dara Adam Khel as stating that his organisation was not responsible for the attack; “we do not target marketplaces”, he added.

Meanwhile, with the attack on 14-year-old Malala Yousafzai turning even many in the religious rightwing against it, the TTP has decided to target international and national media organisations for their coverage of the peace activist’s ordeal.

According to BBC Urdu, intelligence agencies had intercepted a telephonic conversation in which TTP chief Hakimullah Mehsud was instructing one of his operatives to target media organisations in all major cities of the country for denouncing the outfit.

Health improves

As for Ms. Yousafzai, her condition showed some improvement on Saturday. Though she remains on a ventilator, doctors attending on her at a military hospital in Rawalpindi reported that “her vitals are okay”. The condition of the two other girls who were injured along with her in the attack on Tuesday has also improved.

In a related development, there were reports of five more persons including an Afghan national being arrested by the police for the attack on the teenager, taking the total number of arrests to nine which includes a woman. Pakistan believes that the terrorists may have come from Kunar or Nuristan provinces of Afghanistan where members of the Swat Taliban — which works under the TTP — fled to after the military operation in the valley.

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