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Central & South Asia
Blasts hit market in Pakistan's Peshawar
At least 34 people are killed after two explosions went off in the north-western city, officials say.
Last Modified: 11 Jun 2011 21:41
Nearly 100 people were injured in the explosions [AFP]

At least 34 people have been killed after two blasts ripped through a market area in Pakistan's northwestern city of Peshawar, police and hospital sources have said.

Nearly 100 others wounded were wounded in the explosions which took place early on Sunday in the Khyber Super Market, which is surrounded by residential flats for students, shops, a fruit juices kiosk and a hotel.

Dost Mohammed, a senior police official, said a small blast went off just after midnight, drawing rescue workers and police to the site. A few minutes later a large explosion rocked the area, causing fatalities and injuring 35 people.

Mohammed said initial reports suggested the second blast was caused by explosives placed in a vehicle and detonated by remote control. The source of the first explosion was unknown.

Al Jazeera's Kamal Hyder, reporting from Islamabad, said one of the blasts had been so powerful it knocked down part of the building and a fire was burning at the site.

'Cloud of dust and smoke'

Jamal Khan, a 22-year-old student, was in his apartment when the first blast went off. He rushed to the scene as the second explosion occurred, peppering his face and arms with flying debris.

"The explosion was so huge I will never forget it all my life,'' he said as he recovered in a hospital. "It was deafening, and then there was a cloud of dust and smoke. When the dust settled, I saw people crying for help and body parts scattered everywhere.''

The dead included at least one journalist, Mohammed Farooq, a hospital doctor, said. Another four journalists and at least 10 police were injured, he said. Many of the people killed were so badly burned they were difficult to identify.

The attack took place across the street from the offices of the highest political agent to Khyber, part of Pakistan's volatile tribal region. Housing for army soldiers is also nearby.

No group claimed responsibility, but the Pakistani Taliban have pledged to carry out attacks in retaliation for the covert US Navy SEAL raid that killed al-Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden in an army town outside Islamabad on May 2.

Source:
Al Jazeera and agencies
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