PESHAWAR: In an interesting development in the Peshawar Agriculture Training Institute (ATI) attack, which took place on Friday, it emerged in investigations on Saturday that the planners involved in the attack apparently tricked the suicide bombers into believing that the facility was ISI’s office.
A senior police official said that the planners had deliberately misled the attackers about the target. “ATI was apparently their actual target but they misled the attackers saying it was an intelligence agency office,” the official claimed.
He said it was apparently done to keep the attackers motivated. “The attackers asked students whether or not it was an intelligence agency office,” the official said.
Nine people, including eight students, were killed and 28 others injured when three terrorists stormed the provincial agriculture department-run training institute on Friday morning. All the three terrorists were also killed in a two-hour-long operation.
The outlawed Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) claimed responsibility for the attack. Its Umar Media Cell released a two-minute-long video of the attack in which one of the assailants apparently tried to confirm whether the building was an intelligence agency’s office.
In response to a student’s plea to spare his life, the attacker was heard saying he would not kill him if he told them whether or not this was an agency office.
Police investigators said it was the first incident that the attackers broadcast live to their handlers via a smartphone attached to one of the assailants’ body. “They used some communication apps to live broadcast the attack,” said a police official.
It appears that the video released by the TTP was acquired from the same footage broadcast live by one of the militants. Another official said that the attackers wore three suicide vests of relatively light-weight explosives which they did not use.
He said that they carried about 20 hand-grenades and two IEDs. “It shows that they were there for a long battle,” the official said.
Police and security forces pinned down the terrorists holed inside the building after a two-hour-long gunfight. Authorities said the gunmen had been killed and security forces had cleared the area after searching for remaining militants.
The police’s Counter-Terrorism Department (CTD) lodged an FIR under Sections 302, 324, 353 and 427 of the Pakistan Panel Code, Section 7 of the Anti-Terrorism Act, 1997 and Section 15 of the Arms Act. The FIR states that the attack took place at around 8.35pm.
About an ATI student’s claims that he snatched a gun from one of the attackers and confined him to a washroom and police subsequently shot him dead, the official said that the police were focusing on the investigation at this stage. “We do not need to confirm what he is claiming,” he said