A car packed with explosives exploded near a market in Pakistan's northwest city of Peshawar leaving at least 42 people dead, officials have said.
Local officials and police said the attack, the second in Peshawar in two weeks, occurred in the famous Khyber Bazaar area on Friday.
Syed Zahir Shah, the provincial health minister, said: "At least 42 people were killed and more than 100 injured in the blast."
Mehboob Ali, a doctor at a local hospital, confirmed the toll and put the number of wounded at 103. The injured included women and children, he said.
Tahir Ali Shah, a city resident, said: "I can see the burnt vehicle and people are removing the dead from it," Aljazeera.net reports.
The explosion, which created a thick cloud of smoke that could be seen several miles away, also destroyed several vehicles and damaged the façades of nearby buildings. Television footage showed the charred wreckage of a commuter bus.
Meanwhile, Rehman Malik, the Pakistani interior minister, said Friday that investigators have made one arrest and identified those involved in the suicide bombing of the headquarters of the World food Program in Islamabad. Five people died in the blast on Monday, four Pakistanis and an Iraqi.
Speaking to reporters outside the Parliament in Islamabad, Mr. Malik said the government knows who brought the suicide bomber to the highly fortified W.F.P. building.
“The main handler is in our custody and we have complete information about the persons involved in executing the terrorist plan and facilitating the terrorists,” Mr. Malik said, although he declined to give further details, The New York Times reports.
It was also reported, authorities said more than 100 people were wounded, at least 15 of them critically.
The market was jammed with people at the time of the explosion. The assailant was driving his car through the bazaar when the blast occurred, said Shafqat Malik, a police bomb squad specialist. About 110 pounds of explosives was used in the attack, Malik said.
The explosion ripped through market stalls and nearby buildings, and overturned a minibus filled with passengers. Pools of blood and shards from destroyed vehicles were scattered throughout the area, The Los Angeles Times reports.
One should expect a winter escalation of hostilities. We will definitely see it either in December or early next year. There is no reason for a break - only a small part of the mobilised has been deployed to the zone of the special operation yet