Judge among 11 dead in attack on Pakistan court

[JURIST] A gun and suicide bomb attack on Monday on a court complex in Islamabad, Pakistan, left 11 people dead and 25 injured. Additional Sessions Judge Rafaqat Awan, senior advocate Rao Abdul Rashid, advocate Tanveer Ahmend Shah, and several other members of court staff were among those killed in the first suicide attack in Islamabad since June 2011 and the deadliest [AFP reports] since September 2008 when 60 people were killed by a truck bomb at the Marriott Hotel. The incident began around 9:00 AM local time, a time when crowds gather in the area, when gunmen entered the court complex and opened fire before the detonation of two suicide blasts. The attack comes shortly after the Pakistani Taliban (TTP) promised a month-long ceasefire and the government pledged to suspend air strikes against militants. A TTP spokesperson has announced that TTP was not involved [BBC report]. Ahrar-ul-Hind, a small group that told AFP it had no links with TTP has claimed responsibility for the attack, saying that they operate independently from TTP and do not favor the ceasefire or peace talks. A spokesperson for the group stated that their main issue with the talks was the lack of mention of the implementation of Sharia law.

Suicide attacks targeting major public areas have been far from uncommon in recent years. Last month the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan issued [JURIST report] the 2013 Annual Report on Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict which found a total of 8,615 civilian casualties in 2013, a 14 percent increase since 2012. In 2010 a suicide bomber detonated [JURIST report]a car bomb outside of the Forensics Lab of the Iraqi Ministry of Interior's Criminal Investigation Department, killing 21 people and injuring at least 80 others. Earlier that year an Iraqi court sentenced 11 men to death for the August 19 bombing of the foreign and finance ministries [BBC report] in Baghdad that left close to 100 dead. Also in 2010 Russia faced twin suicide bombing attacks on Moscow subway stations, prompting Russian President Dmitry Medvedev to propose amending [JURIST report] the country's terrorism legislation. In 2009 Taliban insurgents targeting the Afghan Ministry of Justice, the Prisons Directorate and other government buildings in coordinated attacks [JURIST report] on the capital city of Kabul, killing an estimated 28 people and injuring more than 60.

 

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