Suicide bombing outside Lal Masjid in Islamabad kills 19
Aftermath of the bombing at a police station in Islamabad Pakistan. Reuters Photo, click here to view more images.
A suicide bomber killed 19 Pakistanis, including 15 policemen, in an attack outside a police station in Islamabad. More than 40 Pakistanis were reported wounded.
"Most of the injured include policemen," Geo TV reported. The police station chief was among those killed in the attack. The "death toll is expected to mount considering the intensity of the blast."
The attack occurred on the anniversary of the Pakistani government assault on the Lal Masjid, or Red Mosque. One year ago, the Pakistani government ordered a siege and subsequent full-scale assault on the Lal Masjid, after its leaders attempted to impose sharia, or Islamic law, in neighborhoods in the heart of Islamabad. Their followers kidnapped policemen and prostitutes, and beat those who would not comply with sharia.
The mosque and madrassa, the Jamia Hasfa, were run by Taliban-linked extremists Abdul Aziz and Abdul Rasheed Ghazi. More than 100 extremists, including Ghazi, were killed during the attack and several hundred were captured, including Aziz. Eleven Pakistani soldiers were killed during the operation.
Today's suicide attack in Islamabad is the first strike in Pakistan's major cities since June 2, when a car bomb targeted the Danish embassy in a secured zone in the capital. One civilian was killed and 15 wounded in a bombing at an Italian restaurant known to be frequented by foreigners. Twelve foreigners were wounded in the bombing.
Four days prior, a dual suicide attack in Lahore targeted a building housing Pakistan's Federal Investigation Agency and another building that served as the headquarters of an advertising agency. The bombing in Lahore killed 28 Pakistanis and wounded more than 160. US intelligence officers were working at the Federal Investigation Agency building at the time of the attack.
On Feb. 25, a suicide bomber killed the Pakistani Army's surgeon general in the military garrison city of Rawalpindi, the sister city to Islamabad. Seven others were killed in the attack and 20 were wounded after a Taliban suicide bomber rammed into Lieutenant General Mushtaq Ahmed Baig's staff car. Mushtaq is the senior-most general killed in Pakistan since Sept. 11, 2001.