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Blast Kills 22 in Pakistan's Capital

Pakistani authorities say at least 22 people were killed and more than 100 wounded in a bomb blast at a crowded market in Islamabad Wednesday.

Police say the bomb was hidden in a crate of fruit and set off by remote control while the market was packed with shoppers and dealers.

A militant separatist group from the ethnic-Baluch community claimed responsibility for the blast in Pakistan's capital. The United Baluch Army said it carried out the attack in retaliation for the military's ongoing operation in the southwestern province of Baluchistan.

On Tuesday, the group said it was behind a passenger train bombing that killed at least 14 people in Baluchistan. The train blast came a day after Pakistani security forces said they killed at least 30 separatist militants during an operation in the Qalat region of Baluchistan.

The province has been gripped by a low-level insurgency for decades, with ethnic Baluch rebels fighting for greater control over Baluchistan's natural resources or its secession from Pakistan.



The Pakistani Taliban had earlier denied it was behind Wednesday's blast in the Islamabad market.

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif's government has engaged the Taliban in peace talks to end years of extremist violence in the country. Wednesday's blast occurred two days before a Taliban cease-fire is set to expire.

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