KARACHI - Two police commandos were killed and 17 others, including 15 cops and two passersby, wounded in a roadside bomb blast near Murghi Khana stop in the Quaidabad area.

Militants targeted the police commandos of Special Security Unit (SSU) for the third time when they were on their way to Bilawal House for security duty.

A bus carrying nearly 50 SSU commandos was on their way to Bilawal House when a powerful bomb exploded near Murghi Khana bus stop at the National Highway. As a result of the blast, two commandos were killed on the spot while 15 others and two passersby wounded.

Heavy contingents of law enforcers, experts of bomb disposal squad and ambulances from various welfare organisations rushed to the spot and shifted the victims to Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Centre. “The bodies of two commandos while 17 injured, including 15 commandos and two passersby, were brought to the hospital, said Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Centre Joint Executive Director Seemi Jamali.

Dr Seemi said the victims sustained multiple injuries while 14 commandos and both the passersby were released after initial treatment. A critically injured police commando was moved to a private hospital for further treatment. The deceased commandos were identified as Saddam Karim Bakhsh and Chandar Talwar Raj.

Sindh IGP Ghulam Hyder Jamali and Additional IG Karachi Ghulam Qadir Thebo visited the hospital. The police high-ups termed the attack on the police backlash of the Karachi operation.

AIG Ghulam Qadir Thebo, talking to media persons, said morale of police was high and the operation would continue against criminals as well as terrorists till their complete eradication.

Preliminary investigations revealed the bomb hit the police van from the left side when the policemen were on their way for regular duty as per routine.

The bomb disposal squad (BDS) experts also reached the site and collected evidences. The BDS experts in their initial report said it was an improvised device carrying around five to six kilograms explosive.

The police investigators said the motorcycle used in the blast was registered in the name of a policeman, Jamil, who was killed about three years ago in Saeedabad, Baldia. It is worth mentioning here that the law-enforcement agencies remain the main target of militants during the targeted operation as two Rangers were killed in a similar attack a couple of days ago in North Karachi Area while target killing of police personnel is also continuing across the city.

AFP adds: Karachi, Pakistan’s economic heart and home to some 18 million people, is rife with criminal, ethnic, political and sectarian killings, which claim hundreds of lives each year.

Security forces launched a crackdown on criminals and militants in late 2013, suffering reprisal attacks in return. Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack in an email sent to the media.

The militants who are being targeted by a major military operation since June 2014 also claimed a rocket attack in the southwestern Balochistan province on Thursday that killed four policemen.