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Cricket bat bomb attempt foiled in Pakistan
In more evidence of the militants targeting children, a cricket bat attached to bombs resembling balls was found near a school in Nowshera District, officials say.
By Zahir Shah
NOWSHERA, Pakistan – Police February 5 foiled an apparent militant plot to kill schoolchildren as the Bomb Disposal Squad defused a string of bombs tied to a cricket bat near a government school in the Ali Garh area of Akora Khattak, officials said.
"Locals informed the police in time, and the bombs were defused," Rajab Ali, the local police station house officer (SHO), told Central Asia Online.
Police detonated the bombs beside the Kabul River.
Schoolchildren were apparently targeted
The bombs were made to resemble cricket balls.
"The militants' plan was to target school kids who usually play at the school and a nearby residential area," Ali said.
The children usually pick up cricket balls that have fallen into the nearby dried-up gully, he said.
"The four ball-like bombs each weighed about 1kg," he said.
"A boy dragged the cricket bat lying near the school and saw the heavy balls attached to it," Bomb Disposal Squad officer Shahid Khan said. "He informed his elders, who called the police."
Already, police are making headway in the case.
"We've found some clues … and soon the culprits will be arrested," Ali said.
In another attempt to target children, someone placed four bombs resembling toys near the Ali Ghar Bridge, he said.
Broad condemnation of tactic
Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Minister for Information Mian Iftikhar Hussain, reacting to the incident, said this is not the first time schoolchildren have been targeted. He cited cases in which bombs were hidden in candy boxes and make-up kits in Peshawar.
"There is no ethics or norms in carrying out these attacks," he said.
"We condemn such acts of inhumanity against the innocent children and our countrymen, but we salute our people and the law enforcement agencies who had collectively foiled this terrorism bid in Nowshera," Iftikhar said. Local elder Amir Ali agreed.
"It's shameful that these terrorists are targeting innocent kids," he said. "The nation should join hands to stop such acts of inhumanity against youth."
"We are now aware that these militants represent nothing good to Islam and the nation," he continued. "We need to discourage their ideology to save our future generation from their extremism."