20 killed as blast targets Eid shoppers in Peshawar (Lead)

December 5th, 2008 - 11:37 pm ICT by IANS  

Islamabad, Dec 5 (IANS) At least 20 people were killed and over 150 injured Friday as a powerful bomb went off in a market place crowded with Eid shoppers in Pakistan’s Peshawar city, a welfare worker said.The bomb went off in the busy Qissa Khawani bazaar of the provincial capital, Saud Khan, a member of the Edhi welfare association, told IANS.

He said the blast was heard almost all over Peshawar city.

Khan said they have shifted over 150 injured to different city hospitals and saw at least 20 dead bodies.

Qissa Khawani bazaar, the oldest market in the city, is crowded in the evenings. “This was the rush hour because of the Eid on Dec 9,” said another Edhi official who was present only 200 yards away from the blast scene.

The blast rocked the market and shattered windows of nearby building, he said, adding that the dead and injured also include women and children who were shopping for Eid.

The nearby shops selling plastic items caught fire, leading to more panic in the area. He said some people were injured in a stampede that followed the blast.

A police official from Peshawar said that apparently the bomb was planted in a car parked in the market. “I can’t say if it was a suicide attempt, but certainly the bomb was fixed in a car,” said the police official.

A doctor at the Lady Reading Hospital said they had received six bodies and about 35 injured. More than 20 ambulances belonging to different hospitals and welfare organisations were seen at the blast site.

In another incident, six tribesmen were killed and 10 injured in a powerful explosion in Orakzai Agency in tribal areas adjacent to Afghanistan.

Reports said a large number of tribesmen were present in the bazaar for Eid shopping when the suicide bomber struck in the morning.

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