Officials in northwestern Pakistan say a massive, remote-controlled car bomb exploded in central Peshawar on Sunday, killing at least 37 people and wounding 75, the third deadly blast to hit the city in a week.
The latest attack occurred during the morning rush hour in the city's oldest bazaar, near a mosque and a police station, causing widespread destruction.
"We three friends were in the bazaar, two of my friends were in front and I was behind. There was a sudden blast. I fell down and was scared. People were screaming, flames were burning, everybody was running here and there."
The attack took place not far from the All Saints Church, where a pair of suicide bombers struck last Sunday in a crowd of worshipers, killing 85 members of the country's minority Christian community, nearly half of them women and children.
Another 19 people died Friday when a bomb tore through a bus carrying government employees on the edge of Peshawar.
There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the latest bombing. The Sunni militant group Jundullah claimed responsibility for the church attack, saying it targeted Christians to avenge the deaths of Muslims killed by U.S. drone strikes.
That incident triggered nationwide protests by Christians and others demanding better protection for Pakistan's minorities.
The church was repaired and reopened under tight security on Sunday. The latest explosion was felt inside, frightening worshipers.
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has promised to engage the Islamist militants in peace talks to try to end the bloodshed, but many believe the latest violence has apparently left little room for his government to pursue a negotiated settlement.
The Pakistani prime minister "strongly condemned" Sunday's bomb blast in Peshawar. In a written statement, Mr. Sharif said "those involved in the killing of innocent people are devoid of humanity and all religions."
Pakistan is on the frontlines of the U.S.-led war on al-Qaida. Since July 2007 it has also been gripped by a local Taliban-led insurgency, concentrated largely in the northwest.
Security officials said an American drone strike hit a compound in the North Waziristan tribal region Sunday, killing three militants affiliated with the Pakistani Taliban.