Hundreds killed in Peshawar bombing

A remote-controlled car bomb killed at least 105 people and injured approximately 200 others at the provincial capital’s Meena Bazaar in Peshawar on Oct. 28.

CA Online and wire services

2009-10-30

PESHAWAR — A remote-controlled car bomb killed at least 105 people and injured approximately 200 others at the provincial capital’s Meena Bazaar in Peshawar on Oct. 28.

Of the injured, 70 are women and children, said Lady Reading Hospital Chief Executive Haider Afridi. More than 25 people, mostly women, were in critical condition.

“Nineteen of the dead are women and 11 are children. All were civilians,” Dr Zafar Iqbal told the AFP news agency, as staff declared an emergency and called for blood donations.

Bomb disposal squad chief Shafqat Malik told reporters that 150kg of explosives were used in the blast, and that some people were still trapped under the rubble.

Addressing reporters at Lady Reading Hospital, Northwest Frontier Province Information Minister Mian Iftikhar Hussain linked the Meena Bazaar blast with the ongoing military operation in South Waziristan against the Taliban, saying, “Foreign terrorists, including Arabs, Chechens and Uzbeks based in Waziristan are carrying out attacks in Pashtun areas.”

In a message to foreign and local Taliban, the minister said, “The fight against terrorism will continue and we will eliminate terrorists even if we have to pay with our lives.”

Although no one claimed responsibility, suspicion immediately fell on the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan.

“It was a powerful blast. I saw smoke and dust everywhere. I saw body parts and people dying or screaming on the road,” a witness told The Daily Times.

According to AFP, the explosion brought down buildings. Flames fanned out of burning wreckage and smoke billowed over the collapsed rubble of a mosque and three buildings, where rescue workers picked charred bodies out of smoldering debris and gathered human flesh in plastic bags.

On the scene, men tried to pull survivors out of the wreckage. One man carried away a baby with a bloodied face, and a group of men rescued a young boy covered in dust, but others only found dead bodies.

Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani strongly condemned the attack, and said the government would not rest until all terrorists had been eliminated. He said a full-scale operation against the Taliban in South Waziristan had already been launched, and “we will not be cowed down by such attacks.” He added that the government is fully aware of its responsibility for protecting the lives and property of civilians, and was taking all necessary measures in this context.

[AFP/Daily Times]

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