ISLAMABAD (AP) â€” Two suicide bombers blew themselves up at a court complex in the Pakistani capital on Monday, killing 11 people and wounding dozens in a rare terror attack in the heart of Islamabad, officials said.
Initial reports suggested two men wearing explosive vests rushed into the court complex, threw hand grenades and started shooting, then blew themselves up, said Islamabad Police Chief Sikander Hayat.
He put the death toll at 11 as did another police official and a hospital spokeswoman where the dead were taken.
“It was certainly an act of terrorism,” Hayat said in televised comments to reporters.
One of the attackers blew himself up outside the office of the lawyers’ union president and the other outside the door of a judge’s office, said Hayat.
The explosions sent lawyers and judges running in fear for their lives as police stormed in. Hayat said police subsequently searched the entire complex and found no additional attackers.
The area where the attack occurred is a warren of walkways filled with judges’ chambers, lawyers’ offices and restaurants and businesses catering to the legal community. The walkways are filled with copying machines for clerks and clients to make copies of legal documents, and prisoners wearing chains can often be seen walking through the complex on their way to and from court. Families of suspects on trial also often stand around the area, waiting for their loved ones to appear in court.
Pakistani television showed images of the area with windows blown out, walls torn and lawyers wearing the traditional black suit worn by all Pakistani lawyers carrying what appeared to be dead and wounded from the buildings. Policemen with weapons raised ran through the area and searched offices.
There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attack, which came as a shock to a city that has enjoyed a respite from the frequent bombings and shootings prevalent in other Pakistani cities.