Reporting from Islamabad, Pakistan — A suicide bomb attack killed four people Wednesday in the northwest Pakistan city of Peshawar, including a top national police official who appeared to be the target of the blast.
Sifwat Ghayoor, commander of a paramilitary police force called the Frontier Constabulary, was killed when a lone suicide bomber approached his car on foot at a traffic light and detonated explosives, authorities in Peshawar said. Two of Ghayoor's bodyguards and a passerby were also killed. Eleven people were injured.
The attack occurred amid a relative lull in militant violence in recent months in Peshawar, a city of 3 million perched on the edge of Pakistan's largely lawless tribal areas along the border with Afghanistan. Late last year, the city was hit by a devastating series of suicide bombings that killed hundreds of people.
Ghayoor "was targeted because he played a lead role in the war against militancy," said Mian Iftikhar Hussain, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province information minister.
Although the 25,000-strong Frontier Constabulary is drawn mostly from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, formerly North-West Frontier Province, its officers serve in all of the country's provinces. Before becoming the constabulary's commander, Ghayoor was Peshawar's police chief.
The Pakistani Taliban was responsible for Ghayoor's killing, said the group's spokesman, Azam Tariq. The militant group has engineered numerous attacks on Pakistani police and intelligence agencies in the volatile northwest in the last couple of years.
Ghayoor's assassination was the second targeted killing in northwest Pakistan in less than two weeks. On July 24, Hussain's son, Mian Rashid Hussain, 30, was gunned down in the Nowshera region outside Peshawar. Two days later, a suicide bomber killed seven people outside the information minister's house in an apparent attempt to kill the minister, who was not at home.
The Pakistani Taliban claimed responsibility for both attacks.
Special correspondent Zulfiqar Ali in Peshawar contributed to this report.