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Suspected Taliban Suicide Bomber Hits Court Complex in Pakistan, killing at least 12 people and wounding about 50

District mayor Himatyat Ullah told reporters an armed attacker threw a hand grenade at security guards at the gate before detonating the explosives strapped to his body

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Representational Image of Bomber attack. Image Source: Wikimedia Commons

Authorities in northwestern Pakistan say a suicide bombing attack on a court complex has killed at least 12 people and wounded about 50 others.

The violence happened Friday in the city of Mardan in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province.

District mayor Himatyat Ullah told reporters an armed attacker threw a hand grenade at security guards at the gate before detonating the explosives strapped to his body.

Authorities and hospital sources say a number of lawyers are among the victims and the death toll is likely to increase.

The bombing occurred hours after Pakistani troops killed four suicide bombers before they could detonate their devices in a Christian neighborhood in the provincial capital of Peshawar. The attack prompted authorities to step up security around churches in the province and elsewhere in Pakistan.

A military statement said the firefight with the attackers wounded two soldiers, a police guard and two civilians.

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A spokesman for the breakaway faction of the extremist Pakistani Taliban namely Jamaatul Ahrar (JuA) told VOA it was behind the two attacks, though it was not immediately possible to independently verify the claim.

A suicide attack outside a hospital in southwestern city of Quetta last month killed more than 75 people, mostly lawyers. JuA had also claimed responsibility for that bombing. The United States recently designated the group as a global terrorist organization.

Pakistani officials allege JuA operates out of Afghanistan’s border areas and is being supported by the neighboring country’s intelligence agency, charges Kabul rejects.

Friday’s violence happened a day after the Pakistan military announced it has cleared northwestern semi-autonomous tribal districts of militant networks and “forestalled” Islamic State’s attempts to establish a footprint in the country. The tribal areas are located on the Afghan border and have traditionally been condemned as a hub of local and international militant outfits.

Army spokesman Lt. General Asim Bajwa said Thursday security forces have arrested more than 300 IS-linked militants, including Syrians and Afghans. He said they were plotting attacks on government, diplomatic and other civilian facilities, including media houses.

“They tried to make an ingress, and they failed and they have been apprehended so far,” Bajwa told reporters.

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The general said that since the military launched a counterterrorism offensive against the Pakistani Taliban and its allied groups near the Afghan border two years ago, more than 3,500 militants around 540 soldiers have been killed. Additionally, Bajwa noted the war has also cost Pakistan an estimated $107 billion.

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He released the details in response to U.S. and Afghan criticism that Pakistan has been fighting anti-state militants but sparing the Haqqani Network and the Afghan Taliban allegedly using Pakistani soil for deadly attacks in Afghanistan.

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“Terrorists of all organizations, including Haqqanis, including Afghan Taliban, have been killed and some apprehended … so if you say that you know actions have not been taken or (are) not being taken, that is wrong,” he said.

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“A Nuclear War Between India and Pakistan Can Lead To Worst Global Food Crisis”, Say Researchers

While the impacts of global warming on agricultural productivity have been studied extensively, the implications of sudden cooling for global crop growth are little understood

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Nuclear War
Nuclear weapons must be eliminated because if they exist, they can be used with tragic consequences for the world. Pixabay

 A war between India and Pakistan using less than one per cent of nuclear weapons available in the world could lead to the worst global food crisis in modern history, say researchers.

The study, published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, said that sudden global cooling from a limited nuclear war along with less precipitation and sunlight could disrupt food production and trade worldwide for about a decade — more than the impact from anthropogenic climate change by late (21st) century.

While the impacts of global warming on agricultural productivity have been studied extensively, the implications of sudden cooling for global crop growth are little understood, according to the researchers. “Our results add to the reasons that nuclear weapons must be eliminated because if they exist, they can be used with tragic consequences for the world,” said study co-author Alan Robock, Professor at Rutgers University in the US.

Robock co-authored a recent study in the journal Science Advances estimating more than 100 million people could die immediately if India and Pakistan wage a nuclear war, followed by global mass starvation.

For the new study, the research team used a scenario of five million tons of black smoke (soot) from massive fires injected into the upper atmosphere that could result from using only 100 nuclear weapons.

That would cool the Earth by 1.8 degrees Celsius (3.2 degrees Fahrenheit) and lead to eight per cent lower precipitation and less sunlight for at least five years.

The researchers included those climate changes in computer simulations by six different crop models for four major crops that account for 90 per cent of global cereal production in terms of calories.

They found that corn calorie production would fall by 13 per cent, wheat by 11 per cent, rice by three per cent and soybeans by 17 per cent over five years. Total first-year losses of 12 per cent would be four times larger than any food shortage in history, such as those caused by historic droughts and volcanic eruptions, the study said.

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A war between India and Pakistan using less than one per cent of nuclear weapons available in the world could lead to the worst global food crisis in modern history, say researchers. Pixabay

Analyses of food trade networks show that domestic reserves and global trade can largely buffer the loss of food production in the first year. But multiyear losses would reduce domestic food availability, especially in food-insecure countries.

By year five, corn and wheat availability would decrease by 13 per cent globally and by more than 20 per cent in 71 countries with a total of 1.3 billion people. Corn production in the US and Canada — representing more than 40 per cent of global production — would drop by 17.5 per cent.

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According to the researchers, 16 million tons of smoke could arise from a nuclear war between India and Pakistan since they now have more and bigger weapons and their potential targets are larger. (IANS)