ISLAMABAD - A powerful bomb ripped through a market area in northwestern Pakistan Saturday, killing at least 22 people and wounding more than 50 others.
The early morning blast occurred in Parachinar, the administrative center of the Kurram tribal district on the Afghan border.
Officials said an initial probe suggested a remotely controlled explosive device hidden in a sack was detonated at a time the market was crowded with shoppers.
Rescue workers and a local lawmaker, Sajid Hussain Turi, told reporters the death toll was likely to increase because many people were seriously wounded.
Pakistan army helicopters were engaged to help civilian authorities transport injured people from the remote border region to hospitals in Peshawar.
A spokesman for the anti-state Pakistani Taliban has claimed responsibility for what he said was a suicide attack to avenge killings of its jailed members in allegedly fake police encounters.
Kurram is part of Pakistan’s seven semi-autonomous federally administered tribal districts, mostly located near the border with Afghanistan.
The tribal belt has long served as a shelter for local and foreign militants, but officials say recent massive army-led anti-militancy operations have largely cleared the area.