Twin bombers hit Navy War College

Lahore, March 05, 2008: The terrorist threat in the country reached new heights on Tuesday, as two suicide bombers attacked the Pakistan Navy War College (NWC), killing six people and injuring 23, Rescue 1122 and Edhi officials said.

However, an Inter-Services Public Relations press release stated that three junior-ranked officials of the NWC were martyred, while 16 were injured. Lahore Police said 18 people were injured in the fourth suicide bombing in Pakistan in the past five days.

CCTV: According to intelligence sources, a closed-circuit camera focused on NWC's gate recorded the first suicide bombing in its entirety. They said the explosion caused the camera's lens to break, due to which the second and third blasts were not recorded.

Capital City Police Officer Malik Muhammad Iqbal said the bombers targeted NWC's back entrance, which is situated in GOR-I and leads to a parking area. According to Rescue 1122 and Edhi officials, the first bomber rushed in at around 1pm on Tuesday and blew himself up at the back entrance when the gatekeeper, Akhtar, was opening the door for two officials. Based on eyewitness accounts, they said the second attacker then ran past the now-mangled gate and blew himself up in the parking lot at around 1.05pm. The officials said the second explosion caused four cars and two buses in the parking lot to catch fire, causing a third explosion at around 1.11pm. A fourth blast was also reported but it could not be confirmed.

Akhtar and Naval official Shaukat were killed on the spot, while 23 injured were taken to city hospitals, including the CMH and the Services Hospital. Edhi officials said four more people died at CMH.

The Interior Ministry had initially reported that a car bomber had rammed into a Navy bus in the compound, but later agreed with the police account, reported AP.

A press release issued by the Naval Headquarters in Islamabad stated that the body parts of the suicide bombers had been found. The police chief confirmed that the body parts and other debris had been sent for forensic analysis.

An eyewitness, Syed Asad, who was passing through GOR-I, said he rushed towards the sound of the first explosion as soon as he heard it. He said he saw several bodies, and heard the cries of several injured, when he reached the college compound.

High alert: Inspector General Police Punjab Dr Syed Azhar Hassan Nadeem has ordered police in the province to remain on high alert following the attacks.

Meanwhile, President Pervez Musharraf, Caretaker Prime Minister Mohammadmian Soomro and Pakistan People's Party Co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari condemned the bombings.

The president and the premier expressed their sympathies to the families of the affected. Chief of Naval Staff Admiral Muhammad Afzal Tahir also extended his condolences.

The attack came as the chief of the US military held talks on regional security with President Musharraf and army chief General Ashfaq Kayani in Rawalpindi. Daily Times

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