35 dead in Pak market blast

Deadly attack in Taliban-hit region leaves 69 wounded; 11 critical

Pakistani security personnel inspect the site of explosion in Pakistani tribal area of Khyber near Peshawar, Pakistan on Tuesday, Jan 10, 2012. A bomb targeting a militia opposed to the Pakistani Taliban exploded in a market close to the Afghan border Tuesday, killing 25 people in the deadliest blast in the country in several months, officials said. (AP PhotoA remote-controlled bomb blast killed 35 people and wounded more than 60 others on Tuesday in the deadliest attack in months in the Taliban-hit tribal region of northwest Pakistan.

The explosion took place in a market in Jamrud, one of the towns of the troubled Khyber tribal region, which also used to serve as the main supply route for Nato forces operating in Afghanistan.

“The total number of deaths in the blast is 35 while 69 people were wounded, and of them the condition of 11 is critical,” said senior administration official Shakeel Khan Umarzai.

Another top official in Khyber, Mutahir Zeb, said the target of the attack was not immediately clear. “According to initial information, it was a remote controlled device planted in a passenger pickup van,” he said. Pakistan’s remote and lawless northwestern region is a stronghold of Taliban and Al-Qaeda operatives and other Islamist militants opposed to the government.

Insurgents largely based in the tribal border lands have carried out bomb and gun attacks killing more than 4,700 people across Pakistan since July 2007. But the market attack was the first major Islamist militant attack in Pakistan since a suicide bomber killed 46 people, targeting anti-Taliban militia at a funeral in the northwestern district of Lower Dir on September 15.

Pakistan has battled a homegrown insurgency for years, with more than 3,000 soldiers killed in the battle against militancy.

On Monday Pakistani authorities recovered the bodies of 10 soldiers in an exchange of bodies with Taliban militants following a clash two weeks ago in the tribal belt.

An official with the military’s media wing said the soldiers had been missing in Orakzai district since December 21 when rebels attacked a checkpost and killed 13 others.

That exchange came four days after the corpses of 15 members of Pakistan’s paramilitary Frontier Constabulary were found in the northwestern town of Shawa, in North Waziristan tribal region near the Afghan border, almost two weeks after they were kidnapped. There were about 120 bomb attacks in Pakistan in 2011 and the same number in 2010 according to an AFP tally — an increase from 2009, but far below the violence of 2009 when there were more than 200 bomb blasts.

Liked the story?

  • 0

    Happy
  • 0

    Amused
  • 0

    Sad
  • 0

    Frustrated
  • 0

    Angry