Authorities in northwestern Pakistan say that a suicide car bomber has
killed at least 25 people and wounded dozens others.
Police say the attack occurred near the
northwestern town of Kohat where a suicide bomber detonated his
explosive-filled car in a busy marketplace. The powerful explosion
instantly caused most of the deaths and rescue workers shifted dozens
of wounded to local hospitals where doctors say at least ten are in
Eyewitnesses say that several cars were
destroyed while the intense blast brought down more than a dozen shops
at the crowded market.
Local police official Ali Hassan Khan was present on the scene shortly after the blast.
police officer says the suicide bomber struck his explosive-filled car
with other vehicles parked on the roadside. He says buildings on both
sides of the road have collapsed and rescue workers were trying to
recover bodies from under the rubble.
There are no claims of
responsibility for attack that police suspect could be part of the
ongoing sectarian violence between majority Sunni and minority Shi'ite
Muslim extremist groups. The attack took place a day after a bomb
explosion in the area wounded six people.
The place where
Friday's suicide bombing occurred is mostly inhabited by minority
Shi'ite Muslims. The northwestern Pakistani district has witnessed a
series of sectarian and other militant attacks in recent years.
militants, who belong to majority Sunni Muslim community, are also
active in the area and are blamed for fueling sectarian tensions as
part of their strategy to fight the Pakistani security forces.
an ongoing military offensive against Taliban fighters in some of the
northwestern districts and adjoining tribal areas, which border
Afghanistan, militants continue to mount attacks. However, Pakistani
military officials say the violence has subsided in recent weeks
because they claim to have broken the back of Taliban fighters in
Army spokesman Major General Athar Abbas tells VOA
Taliban militants are on the run both in Swat and the tribal areas and
the military success against these extremists have brought down the
number of terrorist attacks in Pakistan in recent weeks.
has a huge impact on all the militant groups around who were disturbing
the peace of the area who were challenging the writ [authority] of the
government and conducting suicide bombings or terrorism against the
people of Pakistan," he said.
General Abbas says that key
Taliban commanders are among the nearly 2,000 militants the Swat
offensive his killed while security forces have arrested nearly 3,000
Military officials also believe the
death of chief commander of the Taliban in Pakistan, Baitullah Mehsud,
in a suspected U.S. drone attack last month on his hideout in the
Waziristan border region has dealt a major blow to militants and led to
infighting among Taliban groups over his successor.