Pakistani police on Thursday arrested five persons in connection with a daring car chase on a city road in Karachi that resulted in the death of five would-be suicide bombers and two policemen when an explosives-laden vehicle blew up.
Five persons, including the owner of the van involved in the explosion on the seafront of Karachi late on Wednesday night, were arrested from Hyderabad city in early morning raids.
Police and intelligence agencies conducted the raids after finding out that the van had been registered in the name of Maqbool Khokhar, a resident of Khokhar Mohalla in Hyderabad.
Khokhar and his son were among those arrested and have been taken to an undisclosed location for questioning. Initial reports had said that three terrorists were killed when they detonated the explosives-laden Suzuki van after being challenged by police at Seaview in Karachi.
However, police officials on Thursday confirmed that five terrorists were killed in the blast and claimed they were would-be suicide bombers.
Giving a blow-by-blow account of what happened, Inspector General of police (Sindh province) Mushtaq Shah said the police had signaled the Suzuki van to stop near Seaview, which is busy and heavily populated during late evenings.
"When they didn't stop the police chased them and the terrorists resorted to firing due to which two officers sustained bullet wounds," he said.
Shah said the terrorists apparently sensing they were going to be captured alive and had no escape route blew up the Suzuki van they were riding in and were killed on the spot.
"We have found suicide vest jackets with explosives weighting around 10 kilogram, night vision glasses, pen bombs, five Klashinikovs, mobile phones, burqas and maps which suggest these people were planning a terrorist attack," Shah said.
He said one of the killed terrorists was wearing a woman's wig. The terrorists were aged between 25 and 35 years, police officials said.
The bodies of three terrorists were intact while the heads and torsos of two had not been found. DNA samples had been collected from the bodies, officials said.
Two policemen who had chased the van on a motorcycle were wounded in the blast and succumbed to their injuries. Police officials have said the terrorists may have been planning to target a hotel or a 'mela' that was to be held in the Seaview area.
Investigators were quoted by Dawn newspaper as saying that one of the terrorists appeared to be of Central Asian origin.
An official said a senior military official was expected to visit a restaurant near the site where the terrorists blew themselves up.