Gunmen attack court in Islamabad: 11 killed

04 March 2014 BBC Online

At least 11 people have been killed in an attack at a court in the Pakistani capital, Islamabad, officials say.Gunmen burst into the court complex and opened fire before at least two suicide bombers detonated explosives, at a time of the morning when crowds gather.A judge and several lawyers are reported to be among those killed and at least 24 people were wounded.No group has said it carried out the attack - one of the deadliest assaults on the capital for years.As we walked through the alleyways, pools of blood spilled out of different offices where gunmen had indiscriminately opened fire on lawyers and their clients, according to witnesses.Commandos and paramilitary troops cleared the area, going from room to room looking for victims and assailants.Shattered glass from broken windows were strewn along the cobblestone alleys. Forensic officers examined the remains of a suicide bomber outside a court where a judge was killed.The stench of burnt flesh lingered as drizzle began washing away the blood that had collected under the rubble.It comes after a weekend in which the Pakistani Taliban (TTP) pledged a month-long ceasefire and the government said it would suspend air strikes against militants.Both are moves aimed at reviving the stalled peace process.The TTP have denied having anything to do with this attack, but the BBC's M Ilyas Khan in Islamabad points out that it sits at the helm of a loose network of territorially independent militant groups who have different agendas. Not all of them will favour peace talks. Police officials have described this as a complex attack. Officials say an unknown number of gunmen, thought to be armed with grenades as well as AK47 assault rifles, stormed the area where judges' chambers and lawyers' offices are located, a convoluted maze of corridors and walkways. Islamabad police chief Sikandar Hayat told reporters that two of the attackers blew themselves up when surrounded by police. Pakistani TV showed footage of the area with windows blown out, walls broken and people carrying the dead and wounded from the buildings. Policemen with weapons raised were seen running into the area. It is unclear if any of the attackers have been captured by police. The area has been cordoned off and local schools evacuated. Correspondents say the attack has shocked many in the city, which has not seen violence on this scale since 2008 when an attack on the Marriott hotel left 40 dead. Islamabad has largely been spared the militancy that has beset other areas of Pakistan in recent years.

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