News24

Pakistan market bomb kills 10

2010-07-16 15:07

Peshawar – A bomb blast ripped through a busy car market in Pakistan's infamous tribal district of Khyber on Friday, killing 10 civilians including children, officials said.

The explosion rocked Kuki Khel town in Khyber, on the Nato supply route into Afghanistan and part of Pakistan's tribal belt that Washington considers al-Qaeda headquarters and the most dangerous region on Earth.

"Ten people have been killed; there were three children among the dead. Fourteen people were wounded in the blast," Khyber district senior official Shafeerullah Khan told AFP.

The timed device was planted in a ditch in a crowded market where people buy and sell second-hand cars, he said.

Two intelligence officials also confirmed the death toll saying three shops and four cars were destroyed.

Officials described the area as a stronghold of Lashkar-e-Islam, a homegrown militant group that has carried out Islamist vigilante-style campaigns, kidnappings, shootings and attacks in Khyber.

Target

The group has been the target of Pakistani military operations.

Bombs and attacks blamed on Taliban and al-Qaeda-linked militants have killed more than 3 560 people across nuclear-armed Pakistan since government troops besieged a radical mosque in Islamabad in July 2007.

Much of the violence has been concentrated in northwest Pakistan and the border areas with Afghanistan, where around 143 000 US and Nato troops are battling to turn around a nine-year war against Taliban insurgents.

Pakistan army chief of staff General Ashfaq Kayani on Friday expressed "satisfaction" over operations against militants in the tribal belt.

"He regretted the loss of precious lives in the recent terrorist attacks and reiterated the need to continue efforts to remove the menace of terrorism from the country," an army statement quoted him as telling corps commanders.

On Thursday, a suicide bomber targeted a military convoy, killing five people in the Swat valley where the army put down a Taliban uprising last year.

It was the deadliest attack in the district since February and underscored that militants still pose a threat in the region despite a major military operation to re-capture a valley paralysed by the Taliban.