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Peshawar suicide blastPESHAWAR: A Taliban suicide bomber rammed a truck bomb into a police station in Peshawar at dawn on Wednesday, flattening the three-storey building in a massive explosion and killing six people.

Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan claimed responsibility for the attack, saying it was their fourth reprisal for the US killing of Osama bin Laden in Pakistan.

Five policemen and a soldier died in Wednesday's explosion, a relatively low toll given the enormity of the blast, but officials said the building normally had only a skeleton staff at the time of the attack.

An AFP reporter saw flames from the stricken building, shattered glass on the ground, pancaked rubble, burning tyres and the charred remains of at least three vehicles, including a small truck.

Constable Farid Khan, who had his shoulder fractured in the attack and was admitted to a hospital told AFP that he was saying his morning prayers inside the police station when a deafening explosion took place.

"The roof of the building collapsed with the impact of the blast," he said, adding he could not get up because of his shoulder injury and his colleagues later took him to the hospital.

"It was a huge blast which completely destroyed the three-storey building," police official Ijaz said.

Senior police official Shafiullah Khan said six people had died, after one policeman succumbed to his injuries in hospital and the body of another was pulled out of the rubble.

Police said another 23 people, including nine policemen and a child, were wounded in the blast in Peshawar, the gateway to the tribal belt on the Afghan border where US drone strikes target Taliban and Al-Qaeda operatives.

The razed building housed the police Criminal Investigation Department and was located in the Peshawar Cantonment area just 150 metres (yards) from the US consulate. The area houses military families and security is normally tight.

Police said the attack was carried out with a small truck containing at least 200-250 kilograms (440-550 pounds) of explosives, and that body parts were hurled more than 300 metres (yards) away from the blast.

 

Copyright AFP (Agence France-Presse), 2011

 

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