Pakistani capital on ‘high-alert’ for security after suicide bombing…
ISLAMABAD: Islamabad Police said on Monday authorities had beefed up security in the Pakistani capital, deploying additional troops in sensitive areas and increasing patrolling operations across the city following a suicide bombing last week in which a police officer and a taxi driver were killed.
A powerful car bomb detonated in a residential area in Islamabad on Friday, raising fears that militants had established a presence in one of the country’s safest cities.
The Pakistani Taliban have stepped up attacks on security forces since November, when they unilaterally ended a months-long ceasefire with the country’s government.
On Monday, police said they had received intelligence reports that militants could try to hit “high-value” targets in the capital.
“We have put security on high alert to deal with any terror threat,” Taqi Jawad, a spokesperson for Islamabad Police, told Arab News. “We cannot identify any specific terror threat at the moment, but we are ready to deal with any situation.”
Jawad said Islamabad Police had enhanced checking at all entry and exit points to the city’s Red Zone, which houses important government buildings, including the Parliament House, the Supreme Court, the Prime Minister’s Office and the President House. The Red Zone also leads into the Diplomatic Enclave where important embassies and ambassadors’ residences are located.
“Citizens are advised to carry their identity cards during travel and cooperate with the security personnel at checkpoints,” the spokesperson said, adding that police would avoid creating any “unnecessary panic” among the public but would remain vigilant.
Additional troops had been appointed in the city and patrolling had been enhanced, Jawad said.
On Sunday, the US embassy in Islamabad directed its staff to refrain from visiting a top hotel in the capital due to fears of a terror attack.
“The US government is aware of information that unknown individuals are possibly plotting to attack Americans at the Marriott Hotel in Islamabad sometime during the holidays,” the embassy said in a statement.
“Effective immediately, the Embassy in Islamabad is prohibiting all American staff from visiting Islamabad’s Marriott Hotel.”
The Islamabad Police spokesperson declined to comment on the embassy’s security alert, saying: “We should not focus on the speculations and should instead believe in the capabilities of the security personnel to defeat all the nefarious designs of our detractors.”