Blast at Pakistan Navy hq

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A woman seeks to get news of a relative at the scene of a blast in Islamabad on Wednesday.
A woman seeks to get news of a relative at the scene of a blast in Islamabad on Wednesday.

Nirupama Subramanian

ISLAMABAD: A suicide bomber blew himself up outside the gates of the Pakistan Navy headquarters here on Wednesday, killing the navy policeman who challenged him and wounding 11 others.

The naval headquarters is a few hundred metres from the office of the World Food Programme, the U.N. organisation that was hit by a suicide bombing in October.

Islamabad’s Chief Commissioner Fazeel Asghar told journalists that the bomber was a 17 or 18-year-old boy. He tried to get past the concrete barricades placed ahead of the gates, but was stopped by naval policemen on duty.

“They asked the boy to first take off his coat. He opened his coat, and there was a suicide jacket underneath. The boy blew himself up at that very moment,” said Mr. Asghar.

One constable was killed on the spot, and 11 people including navy personnel and passers-by were wounded.

A six-year-old boy and two navy policemen were said to be in a critical condition in hospital. Several cars passing by at that moment were also damaged.

The entrance to the navy complex is at a busy traffic intersection on the arterial Marghalla Road.

Several checkpoints have come up on this important road since the sharp increase in attacks in the capital.

President Asif Ali Zardari’s home is a couple of minutes walk from where Wednesday’s blast took place.

Though he does not use it anymore and lives in his official residence, the entire area is heavily guarded, especially since the attack at the WFP office.

“We have checkpoints and patrolling. We do our best. But as you know this road is a thoroughfare, and we cannot check every individual and every vehicle,” said Mr. Asghar.

Commandos of the military’s Special Security Group cordoned off the area immediately after the blast, keeping journalists and curious onlookers out of the way as investigators collected body parts and other evidence.



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