Pakistan: Four killed in suicide-bombing at Peshawar Press Club

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Reporters Without Borders condemns a suicide bombing this morning at the entrance to the Press Club of the northwestern city of Peshawar that killed four people - a policeman, the club's cashier, a passer-by and the bomber himself - and injured 17. The club is used by Peshawar's journalists but the only media victim was a cameraman who was slightly hurt.

"I passed by the gate some 30-50 seconds before the attack and was looking at a notice-board when a loud explosion struck my ears," Manzoor Ali Shah of the Daily Times told Reporters Without Borders. "It was a huge blast. When I went back to the gate there was human flesh and blood everywhere."

"Threats against the Pakistani media and press clubs are nothing new but it is outrageous that this press freedom sanctuary should be targeted in this fashion," Reporters Without Borders said. "We offer our condolences to the family and colleagues of the bomber's three fatal victims - the Press Club employee, police officer Riaz Uddin (photo) and the passer-by."

The press freedom organisation added: "We hope this bombing will be condemned with the utmost firmness by the Pakistani fundamentalist movements that too often express support for armed actions by the Taliban."

The police said the suicide bomber had tried to enter the Press Club building but set off the bomb at the entrance when the policeman began to search him. Police bomb disposal experts estimated that he had been carrying 10 kilos of explosives. The blast blew out windows and damaged a guard post in front of the building and cars parked outside.

Paying tribute to the dead police officer, Peshawar Press Club president Shamim Shahid explained that the club had been warned by the security agencies to monitor every non-journalist trying to enter the premises.

The secretary-general of the Khyber Union of Journalists told Reporters Without Borders that three days of mourning would be observed "to condemn the attack and to make it clear that such cowardly acts will not be able stop journalists from telling the truth."

Peshawar has become a war zone in recent months with jihadists imposing fear by means of a wave of killings and bombings. Journalists have not been spared and many of them have either fled the city or restricted their movements.

The Taliban have targeted press clubs and news media in northwestern Pakistan in the past: