Attacks in Pakistan kill 11 people

Attacks in Pakistan kill 11 people

Eleven people have been killed in two separate militant attacks in north-western Pakistan.

Gunmen wearing suicide vests stormed a Christian colony near the town of Peshawar on Friday, killing one civilian, and a suicide bomb attack on a district court in the town of Mardan killed 10 people and wounded 41 others.

Militants stormed the Christian neighbourhood early on Friday morning, triggering a shoot-out in which four attackers were killed and one Christian died, police and the military said. Three security officials and two civilian guards were wounded in the attack.

Army spokesman Asim Saleem Bajwa said the attack was quickly repulsed and that security forces were searching for any accomplices.

Local police official Shaukat Khan said four suicide bombers entered the Christian colony. One of them went into a church, but no one was there at the time.

He said the attackers killed one Christian in the neighbourhood. It was not clear if any of the suicide bombers had detonated their explosives.

The quick response from the local civilian guards and security forces prevented more deaths, Khan said.

Ahsanullah Ahsan, a spokesman for Jamaat-ul-Ahrar, a breakaway Taliban faction, claimed responsibility for the attack.

In the town of Mardan, some 25 miles from Peshawar, a suicide bomber threw a grenade at the district court before detonating his explosives, according to government spokesman Mushtaq Ghani.

He said that lawyers, policemen and passers-by were among the 10 people killed in the attack.

Some of the wounded were critically injured, Ghani said.

No one immediately claimed responsibility for the second attack.

Pakistan has been struck by a number of large-scale militant attacks in recent months, including a March suicide bombing targeting Christians celebrating Easter in a park in the city of Lahore that killed around 70 people.

Jamaat-ul-Ahrar claimed responsibility for the bombing and warned of further attacks.

Christians are a tiny minority in the majority Muslim nation. While some Christians live in Muslim areas, many choose to live together in Christian-only neighbourhoods.

On Friday, Pakistani prime minister Nawaz Sharif issued statements condemning both attacks, saying "these cowardly attacks cannot shatter our unflinching resolve in our war against terrorism".

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