Pakistan bomb blast kills 13

In the latest bomb blast in Pakistan six shops were gutted and several damaged in the blast, which also destroyed at least eight vehicles.

In the latest bomb blast in Pakistan six shops were gutted and several damaged in the blast, which also destroyed at least eight vehicles.

The blast took place in the main bazaar of Landi Kotal in Khyber tribal district, local administration official Arshad Khan said.

“The bomb exploded near a bus stand and the death toll has gone up to 13,” Khan said revising an earlier figure of 11 fatalities.

He said 37 people were wounded, 11 of whom were in serious condition and had been taken to Peshawar for treatment.

Irfan Ahmed, a doctor at the state run Landi Kotal Hospital, confirmed the casualties. “We have received over a dozen bodies,” he said. The dead included two children aged nine and 10.

Gutted and damaged
There was no immediate claim of responsibility but Islamist militants have carried out several attacks in the area.

Since July 2007, a Taliban-led insurgency concentrated in the northwest has fought Pakistan’s US-allied government.

Khan said the blast appeared to be aimed at members of the pro-government Zakha Khel tribe, who oppose a local warlord, Mangal Bagh.
His Lashkar-i-Islam group has links to Islamist militants and criminal gangs.

“The bomb was planted in a pick-up truck parked near the bus stand,” Khan said.

Six shops were gutted and several damaged in the blast, which also destroyed at least eight vehicles, he added.

Semi-autonomous
In the last five years, attacks blamed on Islamist bombers have killed more than 5 000 people in Pakistan according to an AFP tally.

US officials the country’s semi-autonomous tribal belt a safe haven for Al-Qaeda and insurgents fighting both in Pakistan and across the border in Afghanistan.

Last week a bomb ripped through a passenger bus, killing 19 people, including seven women and a child, on the outskirts of Peshawar, the main city in the northwestern province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

It was the deadliest attack in months on Peshawar, which has long been a flashpoint for the insurgency.

Pakistan’s relations with the United States are in disarray and it has imposed a blockade on NATO supplies crossing overland into Afghanistan since US air strikes killed 24 Pakistani soldiers along the border last November. - Sapa-AFP
       

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