PESHAWAR / AP
A Taliban suicide bombing targeted the administrative headquarters of a tribal region in northwestern Pakistan on Wednesday, killing three policemen and two passers-by, according to officials.
The explosion went off at the main gate of the tribal headquarters in Ghalanai in the Mohmand tribal region, just as the workday was about to start, said Hameedullah Khan, a local government official.
A breakaway faction of the Pakistani Taliban â€” Jamaat-ul-Ahrar or Freedom Movement â€” claimed the attack in a text message sent to The Associated Press.
Khan, whose office is inside the compound, said the grounds are home to residences, offices and training facilities for the local administration and police employees. Hundreds of local residents come daily on business to the tribal headquarters, located 45 kilometers (28 miles) outside Peshawar, the provincial capital.
The bombing was followed by gunshots, Khan added.
The Pakistani army said the bomber was accompanied by another militant, who tried to force his way into the compound after the explosion went off but that security guards opened fire and killed him.
The army statement said there was a higher level of vigilance among the local security forces following intelligence that would-be attackers had infiltrated the area from neighboring Afghanistan.
Shortly afterward, a would-be suicide bomber died when he prematurely detonated his explosives near a security convoy about 10 kilometers (6 miles) from the tribal headquarters, police officer Suhail Khalid said. No one was hurt in that explosion.
The same breakaway Taliban faction that said it was behind Wednesday’s attack had also claimed another deadly suicide bombing, in the eastern Pakistani city of Lahore on Monday â€” an attack that also targeted policemen.