x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 27 July 2017

Pakistani Taliban used husband and wife as suicide bombers

The pair entered a police station and said they were there to lodge a complaint, then once inside, two attacked with grenades and machine guns, triggering a five-hour standoff with police, before both attackers, including the woman wearing a burqa, eventually blew themselves up.

Police officers and workers gather next to damaged vehicles, a day after a husband-and-wife team of Taliban suicide bombers attacked a police station in Kolachi, near Dera Ismail Khan, Pakistan, killing 10 people. Ishtiaq Mahsud / AP Photo
Police officers and workers gather next to damaged vehicles, a day after a husband-and-wife team of Taliban suicide bombers attacked a police station in Kolachi, near Dera Ismail Khan, Pakistan, killing 10 people. Ishtiaq Mahsud / AP Photo

DERA ISMAIL KHAN // The Pakistani Taliban said yesterday it had sent a husband and wife suicide squad to carry out an attack on a police station in north-western Pakistan that killed 10 people, a rare instance of militants using a woman as a bomber.

The pair entered the police station near Dera Ismail Khan on Saturday and said they were there to lodge a complaint, said Imtiaz Shah, a senior police official.

Once inside, the two attacked with grenades and machine guns, triggering a five-hour standoff with police. Both attackers, including the woman wearing a burqa, eventually blew themselves up.

They killed eight police officers and two civilians, said Mohammad Hussain, another police official.

A Pakistani Taliban spokesman, Ahsanullah Ahsan, said by telephone: "This shows how much we hate Pakistani security institutions." He claimed it was the first time the Taliban had used a female suicide bomber.

However, Pakistani officials said a female suicide bomber wearing a burqa attacked a World Food Programme food distribution centre in north-western Pakistan late last year, killing 45 people. Male suicide bombers often don the burqa as a disguise. In 2007, officials initially claimed Pakistan's first female suicide bomber had killed 14 people in the north-west town of Bannu. The attacker was later identified as a man.

Islamic militants in Iraq have used female suicide bombers several times because women in their all-covering robes are seen as able to pass more easily through security. Male security officers are often hesitant to search women.

Also yesterday, a bomb planted in a motorcycle exploded near a police station in the city of Multan. The blast wounded four police officials and four civilians, said Wasim Hashmi, the chief of the rescue squad in Multan. No group claimed responsibility.