PESHAWAR, Pakistan, June 12 (Xinhua) — A twin bomb attack at a supermarket in Pakistan’s northwest city of Peshawar late Saturday night has so far claimed 35 lives and injured over 100 others, said local officials on Sunday.
Rescue team members and hospital sources said that the death toll could further rise as there could be still some people trapped in the debris of the collapsed buildings following the blasts and many of the injured admitted to the local Lady Reading hospital were still in critical conditions.
The attack came at about 23:50 p.m. local time Saturday when a first bomb, which was relatively small in intensity, went off at the Khyber market in the downtown area of Peshawar, leaving three people injured.
As the rescue team rushed to the blast site, a 17-year-old suicide bomber rammed his motorcycle laden with an estimated 10 kg of explosives into the crowds of the people gathering at the site, killing many people right on the spot.
Over 20 shops near the blast site were destroyed. A two-storied hotel collapsed following the huge blast and many people inside the hotel were buried under the debris.
Some local media office buildings near the blast site were also damaged. At least one journalist was killed and three other media personnel were injured in the explosion.
The blast also triggered off a big fire, which burned to death at least three people.
During the search operation following the blasts, police have arrested three suspects and the bomb disposal squad has found the head of the suicide bomber on the spot.
Shortly after the twin blasts, Pakistan Taliban have claimed responsibility for the attack.
Both Pakistani president and prime minister have strongly condemned the terrorist attack.
Saturday night’s twin bomb attack in Peshawar is the most serious of its kind in Pakistan since this month. Following the killing of the al-Qaida chief Osama bin Laden by the U.S. special task forces in Pakistan on May 2, both al-Qaida and Pakistan Taliban have vowed to avenge the death of bin Laden.
Since then Pakistan Taliban have launched a serious of terrorist attacks in the country, including a twin suicide bomb attack at a training center of armed border police forces in Charsadda in northwest Pakistan on May 13, which killed 98 people and injured more than 140 others.
On May 20, a bomb attack was reported in Peshawar. The target was the diplomats of the U.S. consulate in the city. During the attack two U.S. diplomats were injured and several others were killed.
Two days later, on late night of May 22, Pakistan Taliban launched a surprise attack at a naval air base in Pakistan’s southern port city of Karachi, which killed 13 security personnel, destroyed two U.S.-made P3C Orion surveillance planes and one helicopter.
On May 26, 36 people were killed and over 50 others injured in a suicide blast in Pakistan’s northwest city of Hangu. Most of the killed and injured were police.
Local watchers believe more bigger terrorist attacks could follow in the country in the near future.