Islamabad: At least four persons were killed and seven others injured on Monday when militants, including suicide bombers, stormed a government complex in the restive Peshawar city of northwest Pakistan, officials said. At least two explosions and heavy gunfire were heard after the militants barged into Khyber House, the office of the political administrator of Khyber tribal region.
The attackers were wearing uniforms of the Levies militia, several witnesses told the media. A meeting of leaders of political parties was underway at Khyber House at the time of the attack.
Iqbal Khan, a leader of the Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf, told the media that a suicide attacker blew himself up outside the hall where the meeting was being held. Another attacker was reportedly gunned down by security forces.
Four security personnel were killed in the attack, witnesses and officials said. Seven injured persons, including four Levies personnel, were taken to a nearby hospital. Officials described the condition of two of them as critical.
Khyber House is located within the high-security cantonment in Peshawar. Army soldiers and policemen surrounded the complex shortly after the attack began. All gates were shut and nearby roads were blocked.
Footage on television showed smoke rising into the sky over the complex after an explosion. After some time, security forces allowed people inside the complex to leave. The security forces conducted a search of the complex as policemen and army commandoes took up positions in nearby buildings.
Witnesses said almost 100 people were present at the meeting of political parties convened by the assistant political agent of Khyber Agency to discuss a code of conduct for the upcoming polls. No group claimed responsibility for the attack though such incidents are usually blamed on the banned Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan.
Peshawar and other parts of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province have witnessed a sudden surge in violence by the Taliban. Provincial Chief Minister Ameer Haider Khan Hoti narrowly escaped an attempt on his life by a Taliban suicide bomber last week.
The Taliban recently offered peace talks to the federal government but refused to disarm. They have said they will continue their attacks till a peace deal is finalised.