Islamabad: Six people were killed and more than 14 others injured when a group of suicide attackers from a Taliban faction attempted to storm a court complex in northwest Pakistan on Tuesday.
Three attackers hit the sessions court in Tangi town of Charsadda district, a short distance from the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa capital of Peshawar, on Tuesday morning.
They lobbed grenades and fired at policemen guarding the complex before one attacker blew himself up near the gate. The other two, who were also wearing suicide vests, were killed in retaliatory firing by security forces.
The banned Jamaat-ul-Ahrar, a faction of the Pakistani Taliban, claimed the attack. "We claim responsibility for the attack, which is part of our Ghazi operation," the group's spokesman Asad Mansoor said in a phone call to the media.
District mayor Fahad Riaz confirmed the casualties. A lawyer was among the dead, officials said.
An explosion occurred at the entrance of the court complex and another near the bar council room. The bodies and injured were taken to hospitals in Charsadda and Peshawar.
The court complex was crowded in the morning, and deputy inspector general of police Ijaz Khan said police averted a major tragedy by preventing the attackers from entering the courthouse.
The attack was the latest in a wave of terrorist assaults across Pakistan since last week that has claimed more than 100 lives. The brazen suicide bombings have been claimed by several militant groups, including the Jamaat-ul-Ahrar.
In one of the attacks last week, 90 people were killed when an Islamic State suicide bomber targeted worshippers at a famed Sufi shrine in southern Sindh province on Thursday.
The shrine bombing prompted a countrywide crackdown by security forces targeting militants and their hideouts. The military has said that more than 100 militants have been killed and many others detained.
The government has vowed to fight terrorists, including those it says are hiding in Afghanistan. The military closed the border with Afghanistan over the weekend and used artillery to pound what is said were militant camps within Afghan territory.
Punjab chief minister Shahbaz Sharif, the brother of premier Nawaz Sharif, has announced the beginning of a military operation in his province headed by the paramilitary Pakistan Rangers. Sharif said the operation would root out terrorism in Pakistan's most populous province.