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Scores Dead In Pakistan Attacks


Local residents inspect the site of a suicide bomb attack at a district court in Mardan on September 2.

Officials say at least 13 people were killed in a suicide attack on a court hours after the military thwarted an attack on a Christian neighborhood in northwestern Pakistan on September 2.

Local police chief Faisal Shahzad said the bomber blew himself up after throwing a hand grenade at police guards at the teeming compound of the district court in Mardan, a small city in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province.

"He was a suicide attacker and was wearing 6 to 8 kilograms of [explosives on his] suicide belt," Shahzad told Radio Mashaal. "He was intercepted by police at the walk-through gate of the session courts ... [and] threw a hand grenade at the policemen, who [were] injured in the blast. The injured policemen opened fire and chased him."

Mardan is nearly 60 kilometers from the provincial capital, Peshawar, where authorities said armed men attacked a Christian residential area in a suburb earlier in the day.

Pakistani military spokesman Lieutenant General Asim Bajwa said on Twitter that the attackers included at least four suicide bombers and that the military "promptly responded," killing all four attackers.

Officials said the dead in Mardan include two lawyers, two police officers, and three passers-by. At least 30 people were also injured. Some of the wounded are reportedly in critical condition.

The attack was the second in less than a month that apparently targeted the Pakistani legal fraternity. A suicide bomber killed 77 people including 65 lawyers in a hospital in the southwestern Pakistani city of Quetta on August 8.

A spokesman for the extremist Muslim group Jamat ul-Ahrar, an offshoot of the Pakistani Taliban, claimed responsibility for the attack.

The attacks come a day after military spokesman Bajwa claimed phenomenal success in counterterrorism operations since June 2014.

“Terrorists of all organizations, including Haqqanis, including Afghan Taliban, have been killed and some apprehended,” he told journalists on September 1.

With reporting by AP, AFP, DPA, Radio Mashaal, and VOA.

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