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Bombings at Pakistan market kill 49

The death toll from two overnight bombings at a busy market in northern Pakistan has risen to 49 with 10 more people dying at a hospital, officials said.

The bombings struck on Friday in the town of Parachinar, which sits in the Kurram tribal area that borders Afghanistan to the west. The market was full of people hurrying to buy items for their evening meal that breaks the daytime fast during the holy month of Ramadan.

Hospital official Shabir Hussain said at least 49 people had died and 167 were wounded in the attacks. Dead bodies quickly overwhelmed Parachinar's main hospital as large numbers of people sought medical attention after the blasts, said Mr Hussain, who works at the hospital. He said 25 people were listed in a critical condition.

"We have no place to keep the wounded," another doctor, Zahid Hussain, said. "Many of them are lying on the hospital floor and on the lawn."

The apparently co-ordinated bombs hit the main bazaar as people were doing their evening shopping before the iftar meal, police spokesman Fazal Naeem Khan said.

One bomb was believed to have been planted on a motorcycle, Mr Khan said.

The second bomb detonated about four minutes after the first, about 400 yards (365 metres) away from the initial blast, said government official Javed Ali.

One man, Said Hussain, who was in the area where the second blast struck, reported seeing a teenage boy shout "God is great!" just moments before the explosion.

"Ten people died on the spot and many were wounded," he said. "We rushed many of the wounded to the hospital in private cars."

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attack. The Kurram tribal region, like much of north-west Pakistan, has been blighted by violence for years. Taliban militants trying to overthrow the Pakistani government have carried out a vicious campaign of suicide bombings and shootings against Pakistan security forces and other targets.

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