Peshawar: At least 33 people were killed in two bomb attacks in the restive northwest Pakistan on Saturday, with militants targeting a crowded market and a police van in the Khyber region.
The first blast, a car bomb, hit a crowded bazaar in the town of Landi Kotal in the Khyber region near the Afghan border, government administrator Khalid Mumtaz said.
It killed 26 people and wounded over 50 others. Shops and vehicles were badly damaged in the morning attack.
Hundreds of people were in the bazaar when the parked explosives-laden car blew up. TV footage showed the charred skeleton of the car and local residents rushing to help take the victims to hospitals.
One of the wounded, 45-year-old Khan Mohammed, said he was sitting with a nephew in his shop when he saw a vehicle stopping in the street. Moments later he heard a massive blast.
"Something hit me in my shoulder and I fainted," he said, speaking from a hospital bed. He said two of his nephews who were outside the shop at the time of the explosion were killed and that he was worried for friends hurt in the attack.
The Pakistani army has carried out several operations to flush out Islamist militants in the Afghan border regions. Landi Kotal is near one of the two crossings for NATO supplies heading across the border into Afghanistan, but Islamabad closed the route last year to protest US airstrikes that accidentally hit Pakistani troops.
Later in the nearby district of Kohat, a bomb hidden in a handcart killed seven people, among them police officers, said police officer Naeem Khan.
No one immediately claimed responsibility for the blasts, but suspicion fell on Pakistani Taliban insurgents who often target security forces and public places with bombings and shooting attacks.
Story first published:
June 17, 2012 09:55 IST