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Bomb Kills Five At Political Rally In Northwest Pakistan


Men react after learning that their relatives were among those killed in the bomb blast in Nowshera.
PESHAWAR, Pakistan -- Police in Pakistan say at least five people have been killed and 15 others wounded in a bomb explosion at a political rally in the northwestern city of Nowshera.

According to reports, the bomb was detonated on February 27 at a gathering of activists from the Awami National Party, a secular and liberal political group that leads the government in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province.

The blast took place shortly after Amir Haider Khan Hoti, the chief minister from the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province and several associates, had left Nowshera after attending the rally.

Speaking shortly after the blast, an unnamed police officer at the scene told a correspondent from RFE/RL's Radio Mashaal that the explosion was the result of a homemade bomb planted on a parked motorcycle around 400 meters away.

"So far five people have died and 15 are injured," he said. "There are two police officers among the injured. The explosion happened after the gathering ended and the chief provincial minister took off in his helicopter."

Some reports have the death toll rising as high as seven.

Latest In Series Of Attacks

The Pakistan Taliban has claimed responsibility for the attack. The Awami party is seen as leading the fight against the Taliban in northwest Pakistan.

This latest blast was the third bomb in five days to hit the northwest region.

On February 24, three suicide bombers blew themselves up at a police station in Peshawar, killing four officers.

That blast came a day after a car bombing killed 15 people at a bus station on the outskirts of Peshawar.

Bombings and other attacks are frequent in northwest Pakistan, whose tribal districts near the Afghan border are seen as strongholds of Taliban and Al-Qaeda operatives.

With reporting by AFP, Reuters, and dpa