Mon, Apr 23, 2007 - Page 4 News List

Suicide bomber kills 10, wounds 40 in busy Afghan market

AFP , KHOST, AFGHANISTAN

A suicide bomber in police uniform blew himself up in Afghanistan's eastern city of Khost yesterday, killing at least 10 people and wounding more than 40, a provincial official said.

The attacker, riding a motorcycle, detonated his explosives in a busy meat market in the city, provincial deputy intelligence director Mira Jan told reporters.

At least 10 people were killed, most of them civilians, provincial public health director Gul Mohammad Mohammadi said. More than 40 were wounded, four of whom were in a coma, he said.

Security officials in the city had been on the lookout for an attacker since Saturday, Jan said, adding that at least three of the dead were shopkeepers.

Hours before yesterday's blast, a bomb hidden in a camera exploded in a shop in a central market, killing one man and wounding seven, officials said.

Mohammadi reported that the wounded had said the attack was linked to a private argument, not the raging Taliban insurgency, and had followed a fight between two rival groups late on Saturday.

Khost city, near the border with Pakistan, has in recent months been hard-hit by violent attacks linked to the insurgency as the Taliban have stepped up the use of Iraq-style suicide bombings and ambushes.

On April 14 a suicide bomber blew himself up at the gate of the border police headquarters in the city, killing four police officers, three policemen and a civilian.

More than 30 suicide blasts have occurred around Afghanistan this year, killing more than 60 people -- most of them civilians -- although many of the blasts were directed at military targets.

On Saturday, the insurgents vowed a new round of attacks against Afghan and foreign troops, promising to focus more attention on the relatively peaceful north.

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