GMA News – A suicide bomber on a motorcycle killed at at least 69 people at a paramilitary force academy in northwest Pakistan on Friday, a police official said, in the first major attack since Osama bin Laden was killed in the country.
The killing of bin Laden in a U.S. Navy SEALs raid at his compound near Islamabad on May 2 raised fears that Pakistan will face a new wave of attacks by al Qaeda and its affiliates, who are fighting to topple the U.S.-backed government.
Al Qaeda and its Pakistani Taliban allies have vowed to avenge bin Laden’s killing.
“The death toll is now 69, it was a suicide bombing,” said Nisar Sarwat, the police chief in the town of Charsadda, where the attack at the gates at the Frontier Constabulary took place.
Of the dead, 65 of them were paramilitary recruits on their way out of the academy on leave.
Police said there was another explosion around the same time but it had not been determined if that too was caused by a suicide bomber. A Reuters photographer saw body parts and blood scattered in the area.
Militants have killed numerous members of the security forces in attacks in the northwest over the past few years.
The killing of bin Laden in Pakistan is thought unlikely to weaken the Pakistan Taliban, while the United States has stepped up drone attacks on militants since bin Laden’s death.
The U.S. special forces operation embarrassd the Pakistani government and military, who are under pressure to explain how bin Laden lived in the garrison town of Abbottabad, about a two hour drive from intelligence headquarters.
One of bin Laden’s wives told investigators he lived in Pakistan for more than seven years, security officials said.