PESHAWAR, Pakistan — A suicide car bomb devastated Pakistan's main spy agency building in the northwest today, killing at least 7 people and striking at the heart of the institution overseeing much of the country's antiterror campaign.
The blast in Peshawar was the latest in a string of bloody attacks on security forces, civilian and Western targets since the government launched an offensive in mid October against militants in the border region of South Waziristan, where al-Qaida and Taliban leaders are believed to be hiding.
The early-morning blast, heard across the city, destroyed much of the three-story building belonging to the Inter-Services Intelligence agency and many cars on the street outside.
Seven bodies and 35 wounded people were admitted to the nearby Lady Reading Hospital, police officer Ullah Khan said.
Peshawar police Chief Liaqat Ali Khan said a car bomber attacked the main gate of the complex.
The government has vowed that the militant attacks will not dent the country's resolve to pursue the offensive in South Waziristan, where officials say the most deadly insurgent network in Pakistan is based.
The ISI agency has been involved in scores of covert operations in the northwest against al-Qaida targets since 2001, when many militant leaders crossed into the area after the U.S. led invasion of Afghanistan. The region is seen as a likely hiding place for Osama bin Laden.
Taliban militants are waging a war against the Pakistani government because they deem it un-Islamic and are angry about its alliance with the United States. The insurgency began in earnest in 2007, and attacks have grown more frequent since the offensive in South Waziristan.
In a separate attack, gunmen killed a Pakistani working at the Iranian Consulate in Peshawar on Thursday. No group claimed responsibility for the attack. Iran says Pakistani intelligence agents had a role in a deadly suicide bombing last month in Iran.