Taliban deny hand in Peshawar blasts; newsmen among victims
ISLAMABAD (PAN): Forty people were killed and 100 others wounded in two back-to-back explosions in Peshawar, the capital of Pakistan's northwestern Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, officials said on Sunday.
The first bomb went off at around 11.45 pm at the busy Khyber Supermarket in the upscale Cantonment area of Peshawar, Ijaz Khan, a senior police official, told Pajhwok Afghan News. The first explosion injured two children.
A second blast took place shortly afterwards, when an explosives-laden motorcycle was detonated in the area, killing 35 people and injuring 80 others, the official said. Journalists, rescue workers and policemen were among the casualties.
The injured newsmen included The News Sub-Editor Barkatullah Marwat, Imran Bukhari, Safiullah of a private news channel and Fawad Ali Shah, a free-lancer.
The first blast occurred in a small restaurant at the back of the offices of The News and Geo TV channel in the densely-populated neighbourhood. When people, many of them journalists, gathered at the site for coverage and rescue, another bomb went off.
Policemen were also among the victims, said the Peshawar police chief, Liaquat Ali Khan, who added the head of the suicide bomber had been recovered. The assailant appeared to be about 17 years old, he added.
An official with the police rescue team, Fayyaz Yousafzai, said they had taken 40 dead bodies and 100 wounded people to city hospitals. Five journalists were among the victims. Some of the wounded were in critical condition, said a doctor at the Lady Reading Hospital (LRH).
Because of the hot weather in daytime, many people went shopping late at night, which accounted for the high casualty rate, said the head of the traders' union, Haji Sakhawat Gul.
Afghanistan, Pakistan and the US should honestly take steps against terrorism and should leave behind their policies of lies, Information and Cultural Minister Mia Iftikhar Husain told reporters at the scene.
Pakistani Taliban fighters, who have carried out a series of deadly assaults across the country to avenge the May 2 killing of Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden in Abbottabad, denied involvement in the twin explosions.
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