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PESHAWAR, Pakistan — At least 10 people were killed Monday in a suicide attack on a court complex in northwest Pakistan.
A Pakistan Taliban splinter group claimed responsibility for the attack, which occurred in the Shabqadar neighborhood of Charsadda in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. A spokesman for Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan Jamaatul Ahrar (TTP-JA) said it carried out the killings to avenge the hanging of a death-row prisoner regarded by some as a hero of Islam.
"A suicide bomber tried to enter the judicial complex but he blew himself up at the main entrance when police stopped him," local police chief Sohail Khalid told NBC News.
The dead included four women and two police officials while 27 others people were injured, he said.
"The police responded very well and one of them tried to physically overpower him and stop him from entering the main place where hundreds of people including judges, lawyers and others were present,” Khalid said.
At least 9 of the injured were taken to the Lady Reading Hospital in Peshawar, spokesman Jamil Shah said. "We declared an emergency at the hospital to provide better treatment to victims of the blast,” he said. “We received nine injured, including two females, two males, two children. One lady died of her injuries.”
The area where the blast took place is close to Mohmand tribal region where TTP-JA has been involved in attacks against the Pakistani security forces and government installations.
Ehsanullah Ehsan, a spokesman for the group, said it Monday’s attack was meant to avenge the hanging of Mumtaz Qadri, who killed former Punjab governor Salman Taseer in the name of defending Islam. Taseer had been accused of blasphemy.
"The judiciary has brought itself in confrontation with the Taliban,” he said. “Qadri’s sacrifice will not go into waste. More attacks on judiciary are planned.”