Eight killed in Pakistan market blast (Lead)

June 14th, 2009 - 3:09 pm ICT by IANS  

Taliban Islamabad, June 14 (IANS) At least eight people were killed and more than 20 injured Sunday when a powerful blast 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.

“Eight people have been killed and at least 20 others wounded,” Mohsin Shah, top government official of the city, was quoted as saying by Geo TV.

Shah said a planted device was used in the attack.

The bomb disposal squad said the bomb was rigged to a vendor cart and at least eight-kilogram explosives were used in the blast, Geo TV reported.

The injured were rushed to District Headquarters Hospital, where emergency has been declared. According to hospital sources, at least seven injured are in critical condition.

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.”

Security personnel, who swung into action soon after the blast, have also arrested a man suspected of being involved in the explosion.

Meanwhile, a suspected US drone attack targeting militants Sunday killed at least three people in Laddha region in the South Waziristan tribal district, the main stronghold of top Pakistani Taliban commander Baitullah Mehsud.

“A drone attack targeting a militant vehicle killed three people in Mardar Algad area,” local administration official Amir Mohammad Khan was quoted as saying by the Geo TV.

The identities of the victims were not immediately known.

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