Car bomb blast kills 95 in Peshawar

PESHAWAR: A car bomb tore through a packed market in Peshawar on Wednesday, killing 95 people and trapping casualties under pulverised shops, in one of Pakistan’s deadliest attacks.

The explosion detonated in a crowded street in the Meena Bazaar of Peshawar, one of the most congested parts of the volatile northwest city, sparking a huge blaze and ending in carnage routine shopping trips for scores of people.

The attack underscored the scale of the militant threat in Pakistan just hours after US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton arrived in Islamabad for three days of talks with political and military leaders.

‘There was a huge blast. There was smoke and dust everywhere. I saw people dying and screaming on the road,’ witness Mohammad Siddique told AFP.

Angry flames leapt out of burning wreckage and smoke billowed in the air as a building collapsed into dust and rubble. Police evacuated panicked residents from the smouldering wreckage and firemen hosed down the flames.

‘It was a car bomb. Some people are still trapped in a building. We are trying to rescue them,’ bomb disposal official Shafqat Malik told reporters.

‘We have received 86 dead bodies, 213 people were injured, we are facing a shortage of blood,’ Doctor Hamid Afridi, head of the Peshawar’s main Lady Reading Hospital told AFP as staff declared an emergency.

A hospital official outside the casualty wing made a public announcement, appealing on people to donate blood as doctors spoke of harrowing scenes.

‘There are body parts. There are people. There are burnt people. There are dead bodies. There are wounded, I’m not in a position to count. But my estimate is that the death toll may rise to 70,’ said Doctor Muslim Khan.

Rescue workers and government officials had warned that casualties were trapped under collapsed shops at the bomb site, where a large blaze, a toppled building and the narrow streets hampered the relief effort.

‘I am counting the dead bodies, 86 are confirmed dead, the injured are more than 200, there are children and women among the dead,’ Mohammad Gul, a police official at the hospital, told AFP.

The area was one of the most congested parts of Peshawar and full of women’s clothing shops and general market stalls popular in the city of 2.5 million.

‘A building structure has collapsed… People are trapped in the fire and buildings. This is the most congested area of the city,’ Sahibzada Mohammad Anees, a senior local administrative official, told a private TV channel.

Peshawar, a teeming metropolis, is a gateway to Pakistan’s northwest tribal belt, where the military is pressing a major offensive against Pakistani Taliban militants blamed for some of the worst of the recent carnage.

Tensions have soared across Pakistan following a spike in violence blamed on Taliban and Al-Qaeda-linked extremists in which more than 240 people have died this month.


Car bomb, bus blast kill five in Iraq: Police

BAGHDAD: A car bomb in western Iraq killed four people on Tuesday while an explosion on a bus in northwestern Baghdad killed one person, police said.

A dynamite-laden car parked at a gas station detonated during morning hours in the town of Saqlawiyah, 45 miles west of Baghdad, killing three policemen and one civilian, a local police officer said. He said five policemen and one civilian were wounded in the same blast.

In western Baghdad, one civilian was killed and four were wounded when a bomb attached to a minibus exploded in Kazimiyah, a primarily Shia northern suburb of the capital, said a police officer in the Iraqi capital.

Minutes later, a roadside bomb targeting a police patrol in western Baghdad wounded three civilians, a local policeman said. The policeman and the two officers all spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to release the information to media.

Also Tuesday, the US military said an American solider was killed and two others were wounded when a roadside bomb detonated near their vehicle Iraq’s northern Ninevah province. The military said the Multi-National Division-North soldier was killed on Monday.

The soldier’s name was being withheld pending notification of next of kin, a military statement said, adding that the incident is under investigation.

The death raises to at least 4,351 the number of US military personnel who have died in the Iraq war since it began in March 2003. That’s according to an Associated Press count.— AP

Car bomb kills 10 in Iraq

BAGHDAD: Iraqi police and medical officials say a car bomb in a crowded cattle market south of Baghdad has killed 10 people and injured 32 others.

Iraqi police Maj. Muthana Khalid says the bomb exploded Thursday morning in the market west of Hillah.

Khalid says those killed and injured were at the market buying and selling cattle. A medical official in Hillah confirmed the casualty toll.