A female suicide bomber, apparently aiming to attack a military post, blew herself up near a Christian school in the northwestern city of Peshawar on Tuesday, officials said, in Pakistan’s first known case of a suicide attack by a woman.
Police officer Ashraf Khan said the woman was walking near a Christian missionary school and a military checkpoint when explosives strapped to her body went off, killing her instantly. There were no other casualties.
Interior Ministry spokesman Javed Iqbal Cheema said the bomber, who was wearing a burqa, tried to approach the military post but was stopped by troops.
“On realizing that she cannot approach the security personnel, she exploded herself,” Cheema told a weekly news conference at the ministry in Islamabad.
“I think this has been the first suicide bombing by a woman,” he said.
Peshawar police chief Tanveerul Haq Sipra told reporters at the scene that an initial examination of the woman’s remains indicated she may have been in her 30s.
Dozens of police and soldiers sealed off the area, which was splattered with blood and body parts.
Pakistan has been hit by a rash of suicide bombings in recent months, but this is the first known case in of a woman carrying out a suicide attack.
In October, authorities initially said a suicide attack, which killed 14 other people in Bannu, was carried out by a woman. They later reported the bomber was a man wearing a burqa.
On Nov. 24, two suicide bombers hit a bus carrying intelligence agency employees and a checkpoint near the headquarters of Pakistan’s army, killing at least 16 people.
Cheema also said security forces had arrested a man suspected in a bomb explosion that killed six students Monday at an Islamic school in southwestern Baluchistan province. He did not disclose the suspect’s identity or motive.