At least 40 dead after string of attacks in Pakistan

Friday, October 16, 2009

Pakistani officials have said that five attacks on government sites across the country have killed at least forty people. The latest attack occurred late on Thursday at a government residential area in Peshawar. Officials said they suspect Taliban militants for being responsible for the attacks.

North-West Frontier Province, Pakistan
Image: Morwen.

Authorities said that the situation in the eastern city of Lahore was under control, following separate attacks on the country's Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) and two police training centers.

Gunmen with at least one suicide jacket stormed the FIA building at mid-morning. The FIA is an agency responsible for investigating matters relating to terrorism and immigration. Early last year, the building was the target of a suicide truck bomb that killed more than 20 people.

"Reportedly, four men attacked the FIA building and initial reports are that two of them have been killed," said the provincial interior secretary, Nadeem Hassan Asif Punjab.

Soon after the assault on the FIA began, gunmen targeted two police training centers on the outskirts of Lahore. In the suburb of Manawa, gunmen targeted a center that militants attacked earlier this year. In the other incident, attackers with suicide jackets in Bedian climbed over a wall to gain access to the Elite Force Training Center. It took several hours before security forces were able to gain control of all the sites.

Reportedly, four men attacked the FIA building and initial reports are that two of them have been killed.

—Nadeem Hassan Asif Punjab

The attacks in Pakistan's east took place hours after a suicide car bomber targeted a police station at a garrison town about an hour's drive from the northwestern city of Peshawar.

Speaking to local media, Pakistani Interior Minister Rehman Malik said intelligence agencies had expected attacks on security sites in the country and that authorities will remain on high-alert. He said the recent violence shows the militants want to bring the frontlines from Pakistan's violent northwest to Punjab province.

On Saturday, militants with ties to Punjab, as well as the South Waziristan tribal region, assaulted the Pakistani army's headquarters in Rawalpindi.

Pakistani intelligence officials believe the attacks are a reaction to the military's raids on South Waziristan. The military is expected to launch a full-scale assault on Taliban militants in the region bordering Afghanistan.