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Asia-pacific

Deadly car bomb strikes Pakistan market

© AFP

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2012-12-17

A car bomb killed 17 people including women and children and wounded dozens more when it exploded near a bus queue at a market in northwest Pakistan on Monday, officials said.

A car bomb exploded in a crowded market in Pakistan’s troubled northwest tribal region Monday, killing 17 people and wounding more than 40 others, officials said.

The bomb went off next to the women’s waiting area of a bus stop, which is located near the office of one of the top political officials in the Khyber tribal area, said Hidayat Khan, a local government official. But it’s unclear if the office was the target.

The 17 dead included five boys and two women, said Abdul Qudoos, a doctor at a local hospital in Jamrud town, where the attack occurred. At least 44 people were wounded, he said.

Local TV footage showed several cars and shops in the market that were badly damaged.

Residents threw buckets of water on burning vehicles as rescue workers transported the wounded to the hospital.

The market was located close to the office of the assistant political agent for Khyber, said Khan, who works in the office. Initial reports wrongly indicated the women’s waiting area was for the political office, not the bus stop.

No group immediately claimed responsibility for the bombing.

Khyber is home to various Islamist militant groups, including the Pakistani Taliban, which have waged a bloody insurgency against the government for the past few years.

The army has carried out offensives against the Taliban in most parts of the tribal region, including Khyber, but militants continue to carry out regular attacks in the country.

Ten Taliban militants attacked the military side of an international airport in Peshawar on Saturday night with rockets and car bombs, killing four people and wounding over 40 others. Five of the militants were killed during the attack, and five others died the next day in a gunbattle with security forces.

Also Monday, gunmen killed a provincial government spokesman in the southwest Pakistan in an apparent sectarian attack, and then shot to death two nearby policemen, police said.

The attackers shot dead Khadim Hussain Noori in Quetta, the capital of Baluchistan province, said local police official Hamid Shakeel. Noori was the provincial spokesman and also a Shiite Muslim.

As the gunmen were speeding away on a motorcycle, they killed two policemen and wounded a third, said Shakeel.

Baluchistan has experienced a spike in sectarian killings in the past year as radical Sunni Muslims have targeted Shiites, who they consider heretics.

The province is also the scene of a decades-long insurgency by Baluch nationalists who demand greater autonomy and a larger share of the province’s natural resources.

(AP)

Date created : 2012-12-17

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