Bannu  - At least 17 people, including 12 girl students, sustained injuries when a bomb planted near a school exploded with a bang in the Bannu city on Thursday, police said.

The incident happened around 12:30 pm when students of the Government Girls Primary School Garda Nali were on way back to their homes. Miscreants had planted the bomb inside a garbage dump adjacent to a cloth shop near the school in City Police Station jurisdiction which went off with a bang injuring 17 people, including 12 girl students. Police said bomb was placed adjacent to the Lahore Cloth House and it blasted at the time when girl students were leaving the school.

The bomb disposal squad said that some 5kg explosive material had been used in the blast. The owner of the cloth shop is also among the injured. The windowpane of nearby shops also smashed into pieces as a result of blast.

The injured were shifted to hospital. Police rushed to the blast site and cordoned off the area soon after the incident. Police after registering a case have started investigation.

The bomb went off at the end of the school day as pupils walked into a street lined with fabric shops in Bannu. Doctor Omar Zeb told AFP that 11 people had been brought to the local hospital - seven primary schoolgirls and four other people who had been in the street.

Police official Azad Khan told AFP that at least four girls, two boys and a man had been wounded. Three of them are in serious condition he said.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility but militants frequently attack girls’ schools, usually when the buildings are empty in the evening or during the holidays. Last October the Taliban shot schoolgirl activist Malala Yousafzai in the head in the northwestern Swat valley.

She has largely recovered and now lives in England, where she is enrolled at a private school and has become a global icon for children campaigning for the right to an education.

Separately, unidentified gunmen on a motorbike fired Thursday at a Nato supply truck at Karkhano Market in Peshawar and wounded three people, police said. Sources said the assailants hurled hand-grenade and opened fire at a container carrying supplies to Nato forces in Afghanistan in Karkhano Market area of Peshawar.

The injured were shifted to Hayatabad Medical Complex Peshawar where they were provided emergency medical treatment. Police cordoned off the area and started search operation in the surrounding area of Karkhano Market.

Traffic of Nato containers at Pak-Afghan border has been suspended and will be restored after clearance of the route, police sources said.

Pakistani troops have been fighting for years against insurgents in the tribal belt, which Washington considers the main hub of Taliban and Al-Qaeda militants plotting attacks on the West and in Afghanistan.

MILITANT TRYING TO BOMB JUI-F LEADER’S HOUSE KILLED, ANOTHER CAPTURED

A militant was killed while another apprehended by local residents after an exchange of fire at Kotka Molagan in Bannu district, police said on Thursday.

Three militants belonged to North Waziristan Agency were spotted by the local residents and supporters of JUI-F local leader Taimour Shah when they were allegedly planting explosive devices near the residence of JUI-F leader in the limits of Saddar Police Station.

The miscreants were challenged and asked to surrender but instead they started firing at people that was retaliated. As a result, one militant was killed and another was apprehended. The apprehended militant was later handed over to the police.

The miscreants aging from 14 to 15 years belonged to village Khesokhel, Mir Ali Tehsil of North Waziristan Agency. The third miscreant, however, escaped from the scene.

According to police, the militants had demanded money from Taimour Shah and upon refusal tried to plant the bomb.  Approximately three kilograms of explosives were also seized from their possession.

Police said the militants were aged between 14 and 15 while a case was registered against them.