South Asia

Pakistan suicide bomber attacks Islamabad bank

Police outside the site of the attack
Image caption Police speedily cordoned off the area in the aftermath of the attack

A suicide bomber in Pakistan has blown himself up and killed a guard in a bank attack in a commercial area of the capital Islamabad, police say.

Witnesses said that the bomber walked into the bank and blew himself up when the guard tried to search him.

Islamabad police chief Wajid Durrani said that the attack on Monday also wounded four people.

Interior Minister Rehman Malik told the BBC that the guard had averted a major disaster and would be honoured.

Police say the blast damaged the bank's basement. Pakistan has seen numerous suicide attacks in recent weeks.

But Islamabad has not been the scene of a bombing for many months.

Eyewitnesses say that scattered body parts and pieces of broken glass lie strewn across the pavement outside the building.

Police cordoned off the area outside Silk Bank - located close to the nearby city of Rawalpindi - fearing that there might be a second blast - as had happened in Peshawar on Saturday night.

Officials say it is not clear why the bank was targeted.

Mr Malik told BBC the security guard "acted bravely to prevent the suicide bomber from entering the bank".

He said the guard would be decorated with the Star of Bravery civilian award.

Witnesses said it was a deafening blast, and the entire area was covered with smoke.

Rescue workers said they had found the suspected body parts of the bomber and were working to prove his identity.

"There is a security alert in various cities based on intelligence that suicide bombers may strike there, but there is no specific intelligence about any given target," Mr Malik said.

At least 34 people were killed and 90 wounded in the two explosions that ripped through Peshawar over the weekend.