Huge car bomb kills dozens in Peshawar

A suicide car bomber detonated his vehicle along a road near a well-known market in Pakistan's northwest city of Peshawar today, killing 41 people and underscoring militants' ability to strike in major cities despite US-backed military offensives pressuring their networks.

The attack in the Khyber Bazaar area came as Pakistan's army prepares for another major operation in the al-Qa'ida and Taliban stronghold of South Waziristan tribal region. The militants have threatened bombings if the army doesn't back off, but the US has continued to prod Pakistan to take action against insurgents using its soil to fuel the insurgency in neighboring Afghanistan.

Television footage showed the charred skeleton of 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.

Noor Alam saw the vehicle explode, and suffered wounds on his legs and face.

"I saw a blood soaked leg landing close to me," Alam told The Associated Press at the overwhelmed Lady Reading hospital. "I understood for the first time in my life what a doomsday would look like."

Peshawar Police Chief Liaqat Ali Khan said the attacker was in a car packed with "a huge quantity of explosives and artillery rounds." A minibus apparently carrying passengers nearby was also leveled in the blast.

It came days after a suicide attack killed five at a U.N. office in the capital, Islamabad and two weeks after another explosion killed 11 in a Peshawar commercial area.

It was the deadliest attack in Pakistan since a suicide bomber demolished a packed mosque near the northwestern town of Jamrud in March, killing about 50.

Provincial Health Minister Syed Zahir Ali Shah said 41 people were killed and more than 100 wounded Friday.

"Death has to come one day, but we will keep chasing these terrorists, and this attack cannot deter our resolve," Provincial Information Minister Mian Iftikhar Hussain said 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 US 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 US and Pakistan over a multibillion-dollar US aid package that is aimed at helping Pakistan's economy and other nonmilitary sectors.

Pakistan's army has raised concern over strings attached to the aid, bolstering critics who say it will invite US interference.

The debate over the proposal also has exposed rifts between Pakistan's military and its weak civilian government.

The government has hailed the package, which would provide $1.5 billion a year over the next five years. But the measure, which awaits President Barack Obama's signature, makes US aid contingent on whether Pakistan's government maintains effective control over the military, among other conditions.

The army, which has ruled Pakistan for around half its 62-year existence, raised "serious concern" over the conditions, while the government said nothing in it was against Pakistan's interests.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Arts and Entertainment
Frank Turner performing at 93 Feet East
musicReview: 93 Feet East, London
News
Toronto tops the charts across a range of indexes
news

World cities ranked in terms of safety, food security and 'liveability'

Extras
indybest
Voices
A mother and her child
voices
Voices
The veterans Mark Hayward, Hugh Thompson and Sean Staines (back) with Grayson Perry (front left) and Evgeny Lebedev
charity appealMaverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Case Manager - Occupational Therapist / Physiotherapist

£28000 - £34000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Office Manager

£25000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This fast growing reinforcing s...

Recruitment Genius: Digital Content Manager

£26000 - £31000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Digital Content Manager is re...

Recruitment Genius: Senior .Net Application Developer

£40000 - £60000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

Day In a Page

Isis hostage crisis: The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power

Isis hostage crisis

The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power, says Robert Fisk
Missing salvage expert who found $50m of sunken treasure before disappearing, tracked down at last

The runaway buccaneers and the ship full of gold

Salvage expert Tommy Thompson found sunken treasure worth millions. Then he vanished... until now
Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Maverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
Assisted Dying Bill: I want to be able to decide about my own death - I want to have control of my life

Assisted Dying Bill: 'I want control of my life'

This week the Assisted Dying Bill is debated in the Lords. Virginia Ironside, who has already made plans for her own self-deliverance, argues that it's time we allowed people a humane, compassionate death
Move over, kale - cabbage is the new rising star

Cabbage is king again

Sophie Morris banishes thoughts of soggy school dinners and turns over a new leaf
11 best winter skin treats

Give your moisturiser a helping hand: 11 best winter skin treats

Get an extra boost of nourishment from one of these hard-working products
Paul Scholes column: The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him

Paul Scholes column

The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him
Frank Warren column: No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans

Frank Warren's Ringside

No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans
Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

Homeless Veterans appeal

MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

Comedians share stories of depression

The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

Has The Archers lost the plot?

A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

14 office buildings added to protected lists

Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee