Two attacks in northwest Pakistan within hours of each other claimed by Jamaatul Ahrar (JA)
At least 12 people were killed and 52 wounded when two bombs exploded outside a district court in Mardan, northwest Pakistan on Friday. Hours earlier, four suicide bombers tried to attack a Christian colony in Peshawar, also in northwest Pakistan, resulting in the death of a security guard.
The two attacks in northwest Pakistan have been claimed by Jamaatul Ahrar (JA), a breakaway faction of the militant group, Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP).
At 6 am, four would-be suicide bombers were killed in the ensuing gunfight following the colony attack near Warsak Dam, the Pakistan Army said. No other casualties from that attack have yet been reported.
The second attack in Mardan occurred at approximately 9 am. A district police officer in Mardan told Pakistan's Dawn newspaper that the attacker first hurled a hand grenade outside the court premises before detonating his suicide vest.
"So far we recovered 12 bodies of the lawyers, police personnel and civilians. Besides this, we rescued 52 injured, including lawyers, police personnel and civilians from the spot," said Haris Habib, chief rescue officer in the city of Mardan in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province.
According to Habib, the blasts went off in quick succession and within a short distance of each other, which may account for a higher death toll.
In a statement following the attack, Pakistan's Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif said the bombing would "not shatter our unflinching resolve in our war against terrorism".
"These receding elements are showing frustration by attacking our soft targets. They shall not get space to hide in Pakistan," Sharif added.
Security in Pakistan has improved in recent years but militant groups continue to stage major attacks.
More than 70 people, mostly lawyers, were killed last month in a suicide bombing in the southwestern city of Quetta. Both Jamaatul Ahrar and DAESH claimed responsibility.