PESHAWAR, Aug 31: A truck bomb ripped through a busy market in Peshawar’s suburbs on Friday, killing 11 people, three of them children, and injuring 16 others.
Police said the double-cabin truck rigged with explosives had been parked at a workshop near a mosque in Mattani bazaar. The explosives went off at 6.15pm.
According to the bomb disposal unit, 30 to 40 kilograms of explosives had been used for the blast. The explosives were mixed with rocket shells to maximise their lethality.
The explosion badly damaged a nearby mosque, at least 12 shops and several motorcars and motorcycles.
Most of the injured were taken to the Lady Reading Hospital in private vehicles before the arrival of ambulances and rescue workers.
“We were not far away from the blast site. We heard a huge explosion and people started crying for help,” Qadir Khan, a resident of the locality, told Dawn. He said the dead and the injured were lying on the road because there was no ambulance.
He said people of the area arranged vehicles and took the injured to hospital. After some time, he said, police personnel arrived and cordoned off the area.
Tahir Khan, one of the injured, said he was sitting in a shop when the blast took place and he was hit by a sharpnel. He said a cloud of smoke and dust enveloped the area. SP (Rural Circle) Khurshid Khan told journalists that explosives had been planted in the truck (which had no number plate), adding that he could not share more information with media at this stage.
“The place is close to the tribal belt and terrorists could easily enter the settled area, but it is still to be confirmed if the Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan or Lashkar-i-Islam are involved in the blast,” the official said.
Minister for Information Mian Iftikhar Hussain told journalists that three people had brought the truck to the auto market, known as the Malik Market, but their identity was yet to be ascertained.
He said the three people, including the mechanic, had been killed and it was not known if they were terrorists and had brought the vehicle to hit a specific target.
Police are investigating whether the three people were innocent and had been targeted by someone else.
“It is a heinous crime which took lives of innocent people and destroyed public and private property,” he said.
Some of those killed in the bombing were identified as Gul Jahan, Atta Khan, Hazrat Bilal, Saeed Khan, Tila Mohammad and Tahir Shah. The bodies of other victims were mutilated and were beyond recognition.
According to sources at the Lady Reading Hospital, condition of six of the injured was critical. They said six people had been brought dead and five others died in the hospital.