Death toll in Pakistan bombing rises to 42
Bombing is third deadly strike in week to hit northwestern city of Peshawar
The death toll from a car bomb attack in Pakistan’s northwestern city of Peshawar rose to 42 on Monday, hospital authorities said.
The bombing on Sunday, which caused carnage in a busy market area, was the third deadly strike in a week to hit the city, the gateway to tribal regions which are a stronghold of militants linked to the Taliban and al-Qaeda.
“The death toll in the attack rose to 42 after three more people died in the hospital overnight,” a senior official at Peshawar’s Lady Reading Hospital, Dr. Arshad Javaid, said.
He said 64 injured people were still under treatment at the hospital and seven of them were in critical condition.
Video: Bomb kills dozens in Pakistan's Peshawar
The top local administration official, Sahebzada Muhammad Anis, confirmed the new toll. The dead also included eight women and six children aged five to nine.
The bomb went off near a police station but officials said it did not appear to have been the target.
“It looks like the market was the target,” said bomb disposal chief Shafqat Malik.
He said a car parked by the roadside had apparently been converted into a remote-controlled bomb.
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, who is in New York for the UN General Assembly, strongly condemned the blast.
“Those involved in the killing of innocent people are devoid of humanity and all religions,” he said in comments released by his office.
The blast caused major destruction, toppling a two-storey building and gutting several shops, an AFP reporter at the scene saw.
Thick grey clouds engulfed the entire area after several shops caught fire. At least 50 shops were either damaged or completely destroyed.
On Sunday last week a twin suicide attack at a Peshawar church killed 82 people, triggering nationwide protests by the Christian community and others demanding better protection for minorities.
On Friday a bomb tore through a bus carrying government employees on the edge of Peshawar, killing 18 people.
Peshawar is the gateway of the semi-autonomous tribal belt that US officials consider a safe haven for al-Qaeda and other insurgents fighting both in Pakistan and across the border in Afghanistan.
Pakistan is on the frontlines of the US-led war on al-Qaeda. Since July 2007 it has also been gripped by a local Taliban-led insurgency, concentrated largely in the northwest.