Peshawar, Pakistan: Militants using a car bomb and firing weapons attacked the US consulate in the Pakistani city of Peshawar on Monday, hours after a suicide bomber killed 38 people elsewhere in the northwest, officials said.
Pakistani Taliban militants claimed responsibility for the attack on the consulate, in which eight people including three militants were killed, but no one in the mission was hurt, and vowed more violence. The attacks underscore the danger posed by militants in nuclear-armed US ally Pakistan after a year of military offensives, which have dealt the Islamists significant setbacks. The assault on the tightly guarded consulate came hours after the bomb blast at a rally of supporters of an ethnic Pashtun-based political party staunchly opposed to the militants. A Pakistani intelligence official described the assault as a well-planned suicide attack.
Terror strike: US security officials next to a damaged car at the suicide bombings site near the US consulate in Peshawar on Monday. Anjum Naveed/AP
The US Embassy said Monday’s attacks reflected the militants’ desperation.
“The coordinated attack involved a vehicle suicide bomb and terrorists attempting to enter the building using grenades and weapons fire,” the embassy said, adding two of its Pakistani guards were killed and several wounded.
US diplomatic missions and staff have been attacked several times in Pakistan since the south Asian country threw its support behind the US in a global campaign against militancy launched after the 11 September 2001, attacks on US cities. Dawn television showed shaky pictures of three men, apparently attackers, holding their arms up in surrender when a blast hit the area.
Pakistani Taliban spokesman Azam Tariq said by telephone from an undisclosed location that his group was behind the attack. “Americans are our enemies. We carried out the attack on their consulate in Peshawar. We plan more such attacks,” Tariq said, while denying responsibility for the earlier blast at the political party rally.
Liaqat Ali, chief of police in Peshawar, which is the gateway to Afghanistan and has seen a string of bomb attacks over the past year, said the gunmen first attacked a security post on the approach to the consulate and then set off a bomb at its gate.
Stock market dealers said the violence briefly brought some selling pressure, but the main index closed 0.30% higher at 10,447.84 points on foreign buying.