Minibus bomb kills 30, wounds 100 in NW Pakistan
A minibus packed with explosives detonated near a well-known market in Pakistan's northwestern city of Peshawar on Friday, killing at least 30 and wounding dozens, officials said, AP reported.
The attack in the Khyber Bazaar area demonstrated militants' continuing ability to strike Pakistan's major cities, despite military offensives pressuring their networks.
Television footage showed the charred skeleton of what appeared to be a bus flipped on its side in the middle of a major road. Twisted remains of a motorbike lay alongside the bus. A nearby vehicle was in flames.
The attack came days after a suicide attack killed five at a U.N. office in the capital, Islamabad, and as Pakistan's army prepares for a potential new operation in the South Waziristan tribal region, a major base for the Taliban and al-Qaida.
Just two weeks earlier, another blast in a Peshawar commercial area left 11 dead.
Provincial Information Minister Mian Iftikhar Hussain said 30 people were killed and more than 100 wounded. Another police official, Muhammad Khan, said passengers were apparently in the vehicle when it exploded.
Footage from a nearby hospital showed rooms so crowded with the wounded that bloody and bandaged patients were forced to share gurneys.
"Death has to come one day, but we will keep chasing these terrorists, and this attack cannot deter our resolve," said Hussain as he visited the bloody scene.
Also Friday, Interior Minister Rehman Malik said a suspect had been arrested in Monday's suicide attack at the office of the U.N.'s World Food Program in Islamabad. Malik says the man was alleged to have given the attacker shelter, but gave few details.
Militants in Pakistan also have targeted trucks carrying supplies for U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan.
Early Friday, militants ambushed a tanker carrying fuel for the Western troops at a gas station near Peshawar, torching it, said Fazal Rabi, a police official. No injuries or deaths were reported.
The attacks come amid growing tensions between the U.S. and Pakistan over a multi-billion-dollar U.S. aid package that is aimed at helping Pakistan's economy and other non-military sectors.