least 11 killed in brazen attack on Pakistani court
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[March 03, 2014]
By Maria Golovnina
ISLAMABAD (Reuters) - Gunmen burst into a
court in a busy shopping area in the center of the Pakistani capital on
Monday, killing at least 11 people in a brazen attack likely to shatter
any prospect of meaningful peace negotiations with Taliban insurgents.
A loud explosion reverberated across central Islamabad just after
9 a.m., followed by bursts of gunfire. Police said at least 30 were
wounded. A judge was among those killed.
"There was a blast, then there was a lot of gunfire. Gunmen were
spraying bullets at everyone," said Faisal Ali, a businessman who
witnessed the attack.
No one immediately claimed responsibility, but the attack is likely
to show that the central Taliban leadership, which declared a
month-long ceasefire over the weekend, is not fully in control of
Taliban fighters stage frequent attacks around the country, but such
assaults are rare in Islamabad, the leafy and hilly seat of
Broken glass and charred human remains littered the site of the
blast at the F8 market area as residents and police rushed around in
bloodstained clothes. A severed leg lay atop the rubbble.
Pools of blood and severed body parts were scattered on the floor of
several offices. Police said gunmen fired at random targets in the
area after the initial court explosion.
Police blocked entry and exit points to the area, a maze of narrow,
dusty streets lined with one-room shops and offices.
Camouflaged commandos knocked on doors and secured street corners as
they combed through the area for more militants.
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"There is one policeman among the dead," local police station head
constable Mohammad Yousaf told Reuters.
"We also have unconfirmed reports that two lawyers have died. There
is a lot of chaos on the scene right now and things will become
The Taliban, a fragmented group consisting of dozens of smaller
bands of militants, said this weekend they would observe a one-month
ceasefire to try to revive peace talks and called on all groups to
Talks broke down last month after a series of attacks and
counterattacks by the army and the insurgents.
(Additional reporting by Mehreen Zahra-Malik; Editing by Ron
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