Car bombings kill 13 in northwestern Pakistan


Islamabad : A car bomb exploded in Pakistan’s northwestern city of Peshawar Saturday, killing at least seven people and injuring another 30, hours after a suicide bombing outside a police station in the restive North West Frontier Province (NWFP) killed six people, police said.

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Explosives packed in a car went off just around midday outside a busy commercial centre in Peshawar’s Saddar area, one of the main routes to the army-controlled neighbourhood in the city, police said.

Seven people were killed at the scene while at least 30 wounded were taken to hospital, senior police officer Abdul Ghafoor Afridi said. Some of the injured were in critical condition.

Afridi said the blast destroyed around two dozen vehicles and extensively damaged several buildings, including that of a bank connected with the military.

Television footage showed mangled remains of vehicles, as rescuers helped the victims with blood-stained clothes evacuate the blast site.

NWFP’s Information Minister Mian Iftikhar Hussain told reporters that the attack was a reaction against “successful operations” by the security forces against Islamist militants in the northwestern region.

However, no group immediately claimed responsibility for the bombing, which occurred hours after a suicide attacker detonated his explosive-laden pickup truck at the gates of Mandan police station near Bannu, another NWFP town bordering Pakistan’s tribal region.

The blast flattened the police building, trapping dozens of people in the rubble.

“Five policemen and a suspect being interrogated at the police station were killed and at least 60 people were injured,” Bannu police chief Iqbal Marwat said.

The explosion left a three-metre-deep crater on the road.

The suicide attack came two days after Islamist militants ambushed a convoy of anti-Taliban tribal elders just outside Bannu, killing at least eight pro-government militiamen. Ten more people were killed in ensuing clashes.

Bannu borders the North Waziristan tribal district, a known hub of Al Qaeda and Taliban fighters. It has seen several militant assaults on government forces as well as civilian targets in recent months.

A Taliban leader named Qari Hussain talked to reporters by phone from an undisclosed location, saying a Taliban fighter carried out the suicide bombing.

Hussain warned of similar attacks if the government did not stop its offensives against them in the northwestern region near Afghanistan.

A suspected US drone strike had killed at least 12 militants in North Waziristan late Thursday.