Over 30 die in new bomb attack on provincial capital

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A CAR BOMB exploded on a crowded street in north-western Pakistan yesterday, killing 37 people in the third blast to hit the troubled city of Peshawar in a week, officials said.

The latest explosion appeared to have been a bomb planted in a parked car and detonated by remote control, said police officer Zahid Khan.

It went off in a crowded market that is the city’s oldest bazaar near a mosque and a police station, officials said.

The blast damaged the mosque and nearby shops, and caused many vehicles to go up in flames, said police officer Nawaz Khan.

At least 37 people died in the blast, said Jamil Shah, spokesman for Lady Reading Hospital, while more than 70 were wounded.

Such attacks in the city, which is the provincial capital of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, have claimed more than 130 lives since last Sunday when two suicide bombers blew themselves up in a crowd of worshippers at a church, killing 85 people.

Then, on Friday, 19 people died when a bomb planted on a bus carrying government employees home for the weekend exploded in the Peshawar outskirts.

The bomb that went off Sunday was near the All Saints Church, which was the scene of last Sunday’s carnage.

Book shop owner Nazar Ali had just opened his shop when the bomb went off. He said: “It was a huge blast that was followed by fire in vehicles. Thick black smoke covered the air and splinters spread all over. I saw people lying dead and bleeding all over.” There was no immediate claim of responsibility but the blame is likely to fall on the Pakistani Taliban and its affiliates.

The militant group has been battling troops in north-western Pakistan; their aim is to overthrow the government and establish a hard-line Islamic state across Pakistan.