10 killed in Pakistan market blast (Second Lead)

June 14th, 2009 - 4:53 pm ICT by IANS  

Taliban Islamabad, June 14 (IANS) At least 10 people were killed and more than 20 wounded Sunday when a powerful bomb tore through a busy market area in Pakistan’s militancy-hit North West Frontier Province, officials and media reports said.
The explosion took place in the crowded Tijarat Ganj market in the city of Dera Ismail Khan which has witnessed several terrorist attacks in the recent days.

The intensity of the blast was so high that it destroyed several shops and vehicles, besides shattering windowpanes of nearby buildings, Online news agency reported.

District Coordination Officer (DCO) Mohsin Shah confirmed eight deaths so far and told a private TV channel that terrorists had planted the bomb in a rickshaw outside a shop which was adjacent to another belonging to a Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) leader.

He said rescue and relief activities were underway and the injured were shifted to the District Headquarters Hospital for immediate medical treatment.

According to hospital sources, the condition of 11 injured was critical.

No group immediately claimed responsibility for the bombing, which came a day after Pakistan’s President Asif Ali Zardari vowed to continue the military offensive against the Taliban in the northwest “until the end”.

In a late-night TV address to the nation Friday, Zardari said: “We are fighting a war for our sovereignty… We will continue this war until the end, and we will win it at any cost.”

The bomb disposal squad said at least five to six kg of explosive material were used in the blast. The security forces have cordoned off the whole area after the incident.

Shah also said that the residents of area had received a blast threat some days ago which prompted the police to carry out search operations in the district. “Some 200 suspects had been arrested so far in the search operation,” he said.

Meanwhile, security personnel have arrested a man suspected of being involved in the explosion, District Police Officer Muhammad Iqbal told a private TV channel.

He said the blast was a reaction to the military operation against militants in Swat. “It is not difficult for terrorists to carryout such activities in the district because South and North Waziristan are not far from the district,” he said adding that despite shortage of police contingents “we are utilising available resources to stop such activities in the district”.

President Asif Ali Zardari and Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani strongly condemned the blast and ordered an inquiry into the incident.

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