At least six persons were killed and 15 injured in three explosions carried out by terrorists outside a court in Pakistan's Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province on Tuesday.
Security forces killed three suicide attackers outside the court in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa's Charsadda district, police said.
The three attackers attempted to enter the court premises in Tangi town through the main gate. They opened fire and threw grenades, prompting retaliatory fire by security forces deployed there.
One of the bombers detonated his suicide vest at the court's main gate while police shot and killed the two other assailants, according to the district police chief, Sohail Khalid. The other two also wore suicide vests but had not managed to set them off before being gunned down.
Khalid said 15 people were wounded in the attack and taken to hospital.
Some reports said a lawyer was among the dead and that up to 17 persons were injured. Meanwhile, Urdu TV channel Abb Takk said the injured included five policemen, Xinhua news agency reported.
The Pakistani Taliban breakaway Jamaat-ul-Ahrar claimed responsibility for Tuesday's attack in a text message sent to an Associated Press reporter.
The terrorists resorted to indiscriminate firing after the blasts in Tangi town of Charsadda district, police said. Gunfire was heard after one of the blasts near the gate of a sessions court located at Tangi Bazaar, Pakistani media reported.
Deputy Commissioner of Charsadda said judges and lawyers were safe. He said due to tight security the bombers could not enter the court, but had they been successful in entering the premises it "would have been a catastrophe". A search and rescue operation was underway, he added.
Up to 10 ambulances were rushed to Charsadda from Peshawar, approximately 30 kilometres away, where the Lady Reading Hospital was put on high alert. Security forces and police personnel have cordoned off the area. Deputy Commissioner of Charsadda said security has been put on high alert.
Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf member Shaukat Yousufzai said the militants came from Mohmand Agency.
The Dawn quoted witnesses as saying that the remains of the bombers were lying along with their explosives and ammunition.
The latest attack came as security has been tightened across Pakistan after a recent wave of terrorist strikes killed more than 100 people and wounding hundreds. The brazen suicide bombings have been claimed by various Islamic militant groups, including the breakaway Taliban faction.
In one of the attacks last week, dozens of worshippers gathered at a famed Sufi shrine were killed when an Islamic State suicide bomber walked into the shrine's main hall in the southern Sindh province and detonated his explosives on Thursday. The death toll from that attack has since risen to 90.
The shrine bombing prompted a countrywide crackdown by security forces targeting militants and their hideouts.
A suicide bomber had struck a local court in Charsadda's Shabqadar area last year in March, killing 17 people.
Pakistan has been at war with Islamic militants for more than a decade. In recent years it has launched major offensives against militant strongholds in the tribal regions along the border with Afghanistan, but insurgents have continued to carry out attacks elsewhere in the country.
With inputs from agencies.
Updated Date: Feb 21, 2017 15:01 PM