Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 19 April 2014

17 killed in Pakistan bomb attack

A Pakistani man walks past a burning vehicle after a blast in the Pakistani tribal area of Khyber (AP)

A car bomb has exploded in a crowded market in Pakistan's troubled north-west tribal region, killing 17 people and wounding more than 40 others, officials said.

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

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

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. 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 gun battle with security forces.

Elsewhere, gunmen killed a provincial government spokesman in the south-west Pakistan in an apparent sectarian attack, and then shot two nearby policemen dead, police said.

The attackers shot Khadim Hussain Noori in Quetta, the capital of Baluchistan province, said local police official Hamid Shakeel. Mr Noori was the provincial spokesman and also a Shia Muslim. As the gunmen were speeding away on a motorcycle, they killed two policemen and wounded a third, said Mr Shakeel.

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

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