Multiple blasts in Pak; US consulate targeted

Multiple blasts in Pak; US consulate targeted

Peshawar: Setting off powerful explosions and firing from automatic weapons, militants dressed in battle fatigues on Monday made a brazen attempt to storm the US consulate within the cantonment in this Pakistani city Peshawar, killing at least one person and injuring several others.

The heavily-armed militants came in two cars and raked two security check posts near the US consulate with gunfire. Before attacking the check posts, they set off at least three powerful explosions, apparently as a cover for carrying out the attack.

The outer wall of the consulate was damaged in the explosions, TV channels reported.

One person was killed and several injured in the attack, who were rushed to the state-run Lady Reading Hospital, TV news channels reported. Several buildings near the consulate were also damaged in the explosions.

The attackers were wearing uniforms of the Frontier Corps and also targeted an armoured car at Shama Chowk, Geo News channel reported.

The US consulate is located near several key thoroughfares of Peshawar, including the Mall Road, Michni Road and Fort Road.

Several important military facilities are also situated near the consulate.

The three blasts occurred within 20 minutes in the area around the consulate. The first blast went off at 1.19pm and the two others occurred at 1.31 and 1.33pm.

Geo News channel captured the second and third blasts.

The footage showed the second blast apparently occurred in an area where several cars were parked.

It was followed by the sound of heavy firing. The third blast went off a few minutes later, sending up debris and a cloud of smoke.

People rushed out of their home and offices as thick smoke billowed into the sky.

Several ambulances were seen taking the injured away from the site of the blasts, which was cordoned off by a large number of soldiers.

Helicopters mounted aerial surveillance over Peshawar after the blasts.

The blasts occurred hours after a suicide bomber struck a gathering at Timergara in Lower Dir district, killing 25 people and injuring 100 others.

The gathering was organised by the Awami National Party to celebrate the federal government’s decision to rename the North West Frontier Province as Khyber Pakhtoonkhwa.