ISLAMABAD (AFP) – Pakistani authorities were Tuesday reconstructing the severed head of a suicide bomber found at the site of an attack on a military bus that left seven people dead, officials said.
Police said they hoped the work would help them trace those behind the bombing during Monday’s morning rush-hour, which targeted army medical staff going to work in the garrison city of Rawalpindi.
“We have found the head of the suicide attacker and experts are doing a reconstruction of his face. We have found several clues but there is no lead yet,” Rawalpindi police chief Saud Aziz told AFP.
Taliban and Al-Qaeda militants have been blamed for a string of recent attacks on security forces in Rawalpindi, but officials said it was too early to attribute blame for the latest blast.
“Joint investigation teams of civilian and military officials have started their work,” Interior Minister Hamid Nawaz told AFP.
“We will do everything to stop such attacks and have further stepped up the security so that nothing untoward happens in the run-up to the elections,” Nawaz added.
Violence has intensified in Pakistan ahead of general elections on February 18. The polls were delayed by six weeks following the assassination of opposition leader Benazir Bhutto in Rawalpindi in late December.
Chief military spokesman Major General Athar Abbas said the death toll from Monday’s bombing had risen to seven overnight, with 40 others wounded including seven civilians.
The dead comprised a lieutenant colonel, two junior commissioned officers, a civilian employee at the army’s general headquarters, one military engineering service representative, one soldier and a civilian with no army links.
“Combined investigations are in progress,” Abbas said.
Suicide blasts in Pakistan killed around 800 people in 2007 and have left more than 50 dead this year.
Most have been linked to Islamabad’s ongoing battle against Islamist militants in the country’s troubled northwestern tribal regions bordering Afghanistan.