In the Pakistan city of Peshawar dozens are killed by terrorist strike as US secretary of state Hillary Clinton visits Islamabad.
The explosion ripped through a crowded bazaar in the old city, filling the narrow streets with burning debris and trapping dozens of people under twisted wreckage and charred roof beams.
"Fifty-seven people have been killed and more than 100 have been wounded," a senior government official in the city, Azam Khan, told Reuters. "It was a car bomb. The car was parked outside a market frequented mostly by women," he said, guardian.co.uk reports.
Bloomberg quoted Mohammed Naeem, a spokesman for the Edhi Ambulance Service as saying, “Bodies are scattered and badly burned because of a fire caused by the explosion.”
Pakistan ’s military is engaged in a campaign to rout Islamic militants from strongholds in South Waziristan along the porous border with Afghanistan. The almost two-week assault has sparked retaliatory suicide bombings and assaults that have claimed more than 150 lives before today’s attack, prompting tight security and secrecy around Clinton’s visit.
Clinton, arriving in Islamabad on a three-day visit, is seeking to douse tension that flared this month over perceived conditions attached to a new U.S. assistance bill and back a military offensive against Taliban militants who have carried out suicide attacks.
“We are turning the page on what had been in the past several years primarily a security, anti-terrorism agenda,” Clinton told reporters traveling with her. While security remains “our highest priority,” she said she’ll highlight U.S. support for the civilian government and initiatives on energy and economic development, Bloomberg reports.
It was also reported, police official Anwar Shah told AFP the blast had been caused by a car bomb.
"It was a huge bomb blast, heard in almost all the city," he said.
An eyewitness told Pakistan's Dawn television station his house shook when the blast happened.
"I saw people taking away bodies on motorcycles and scooters and carrying bodies," he said.
Another witness, Aqueel ur Rehman, said bodies were lying under the debris, BBC News reports.