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At Least 15 Killed By Pakistan Bus Station Bomb

  • RFE/RL

At least 15 people have been killed in a bomb explosion near a bus station in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar, RFE/RL's Radio Mashaal reports.

Police officials said the blast on February 23 wounded more than 30 people.

Hospital and other sources said some of those injured were in critical condition and warned the death toll could rise as a result.

The bus station is one of Peshawar's busiest neighborhoods, and the blast is reported to have destroyed a number of passenger coaches.

Authorities said the explosion was caused by a car bomb and suggested around 40 kilograms of explosives appeared to have been used in the attack.

"This is not a suicide bombing. It was a remote-control car bomb with explosives fitted into a car," Mian Iftikhar Hussain, minister of information in Pakistan's northwestern Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province, told Radio Mashaal. "So far 15 people have been martyred, 35 are injured. At least five of the injured are in serious condition. God forbid the number of martyrs could rise. An incident like this has not happened for a long time."

There was no immediate claim of responsibility, but Pakistani Taliban militants have carried out dozens of similar attacks in recent years.

Officials suggested the car bomb might be a response to an ongoing army operation targeting an insurgent group led by Mangal Bagh in the Khyber Tribal Agency.

"The [terrorists] have no other aim than targeting the whole society," Hussain said. "They want to scare people and this violence is part of that strategy. Mosques, schools, hospitals, and bazaars are their target -- which means that they want to aim at hitting all parts of the society."

Peshawar is located near Pakistan's tribal region, a stronghold of Taliban and Al-Qaeda militants.
Based on reporting by AFP, AP, Reuters, and dpa