Mon, Jun 06, 2011 - Page 4 News List

Bus terminal bomb kills six in Pakistan

UNREST:A bomb went off near a market in a town about 20km south of Peshawar; most of the victims were truck passengers waiting for their ride to leave

AFP, PESHAWAR, PAKISTAN

A bomb ripped through a pick-up truck parked at a bus terminal near the northwestern city of Peshawar yesterday, killing six people and wounding 11 others, police said.

The bomb was planted at the terminal near a market in Matani, about 20km south of Peshawar, which lies near Pakistan’s lawless tribal region on the Afghan border, senior police officer Kalam Khan said.

“We have reports that six people were killed and 11 wounded,” Khan said.

He said the injured had been rushed to the hospital in Peshawar, where the condition of one woman was critical.

“It appears to be a remote--controlled bomb placed in a passenger vehicle waiting to leave for a rural area,” Peshawar police chief Mohammad Ijaz said.

Three other vehicles were also damaged, the police chief said.

He quoted witnesses as saying a man boarded the truck and left after leaving a package inside, telling people that he would be back soon. Shortly afterwards a huge blast ripped through the vehicle. The casualties were mostly passengers, he said.

The dead included three women and one child, he said, while two more women were among the injured.

TV footage showed the twisted truck and other damaged vehicles scattered at the scene, while rescue workers rushed away the wounded.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility, but Pakistan’s Taliban have carried out several bloody attacks to avenge the killing of al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden by US commandos north of Islamabad on May 2.

Ijaz said 5kg of explosives were used in yesterday’s bombing.

Insurgents have in the past have targeted members of anti-militant tribal militia known as lashkar.

However, Ijaz said no tribal elder was there at the time of the blast and the identity of the target was not immediately known.

The US has long put pressure on Pakistan to mount a major air and ground offensive in North Waziristan, from where Taliban and al-Qaeda insurgents launch attacks across the border in Afghanistan.

Pakistan has always maintained that any such operation would be of its own time and choosing, arguing that its 140,000 troops committed to the northwest were already too overstretched fighting militants posing a domestic threat.

More than 4,400 people have been killed across Pakistan in attacks blamed on Taliban and other Islamist extremist networks based in the tribal belt since government troops stormed a radical mosque in Islamabad in 2007.

ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY AP

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