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Taliban linked to Pakistan car bomb

The Taliban said it has detonated a car bomb in Pakistan's third largest city, killing 20 and wounding more than 100 people in an attack it said targeted the offices of the country's main intelligence agency.

The blast in the Punjabi city of Faislabad underscored the reach of al-Qaida and Taliban.

The militants are based in the tribal regions close to Afghanistan, but have been able to tap into extremist networks in the country's heartland of Punjab and strike there with regularity over the last three years.

The remote-controlled bomb also devastated a petrol station and an office of Pakistan's state airline in the industrial city. Police said the offices of a "sensitive" security agency were nearby but were not damaged in the attack.

Taliban spokesman Ahsanullah Ahsan said militants detonated the bomb by remote control and that the target was Inter-Services Intelligence, a powerful agency that plays a major role in Pakistan's fight against Islamist militants.

He said the attack was revenge for the shooting of militant commander Omar Kundi in Faisalabad last year by security forces.

Islamist militants seeking to overthrow the government have bombed hundreds of police, army, commercial and civilian targets in Pakistan over the past three years. ISI offices in the Punjabi cities of Multan and Lahore have been attacked, as well as in the north west city of Peshawar.

Tuesday's bombing apparently caused secondary explosions at the fuel station, adding to the destruction, Faisalabad police chief Aftab Cheema said.

Pakistani TV footage showed piles of bricks and chunks of twisted metal from cars strewn across the neighbourhood. Rescue workers struggled to pull victims out of the rubble.

Mr Cheema said 20 people were killed and more than 100 were wounded. "This was a terrorist activity," he said.

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