33 killed in suicide attack in northwest Pakistan

Last Updated: Sunday, November 29, 2009 - 22:38

Islamabad: At least 33 people were killed and
65 others injured when a suicide bomber blew up his explosive-
laden jeep in a crowded market in northwest Pakistan.

The bomber targeted Kachcha Pucca market of Kohat
district in North West Frontier Province at a time when a
large number of people had gathered there to board coaches to
travel to their hometowns for the Eid-ul-Fitr holidays.

District police chief Dilawar Bangash said the suicide
attacker drove his jeep into the crowd and detonated the
explosives. Other officials and rescue workers said about a
dozen people were killed instantly. The toll rose as more
bodies were pulled out from the rubble of a hotel and several
shops that collapsed due to the blast.

A total of 65 people were injured, some of them
seriously. Police officials said up to 150 kg of explosives
could have been used in the attack. The blast, heard from five
kilometres away, caused panic in Kohat city.

No group has claimed responsibility for the attack.

Officials said the attack might have been carried out by
militants in retaliation for operations launched against the
Taliban in the nearby Orakzai tribal region. A bomb attack in
Kohat on Thursday had injured six persons.

Police cordoned off the site of the blast and launched a
search for accomplices of the suicide attacker. Pieces of
human flesh lay scattered all over the market as black smoke
engulfed the area.

The powerful explosion flattened almost all the
structures in the market and also destroyed several vehicles.
Authorities brought in heavy machinery to remove the rubble.
The army also joined the rescue operations.

An emergency was declared in local hospitals and doctors
on leave were recalled for duty.

President Asif Ali Zardari and Prime Minister Yousuf Raza
Gilani condemned the blast and said the perpetrators of the
crime would not be spared. Zardari, who is currently in London
on an official visit, said the government would leave no stone
unturned to find the culprits and give them severe punishment.

Gilani described the attack as a cowardly act of
terrorism and expressed his government`s determination to
stamp out terrorism and militancy. He asked authorities to
conduct inquiry into the incident.

Mayor killed in blast in NWFP

The Mayor of a town in northwest
Pakistan was killed when a bomb blast ripped through a mosque
within his home today, police said.

District `Nazim` or Mayor Khan Afzal was killed and at
least three members of his family were injured in the blast at
Hangu in the North West Frontier Province.

Azfal succumbed to his injuries while being taken to
hospital.

No group claimed responsibility for the attack. Further
details were not immediately available.

PTI



First Published: Sunday, November 29, 2009 - 22:38

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