Five blasts rock Pakistan (Second Lead)

Saturday, January 29, 2011

ISLAMABAD - A suicide bomber blew up a truck packed with 500 kg of explosives inside a tunnel in Pakistan’s northwestern region, killing eight people early Saturday, while more than 25 people were injured in four other bombings across the country, officials said.

The first bombing took place soon after midnight in the Kohat tunnel that connects the cities of Peshawar and Kohat.

The blast targeting the Kohat tunnel, linking Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province to Afghanistan, was carried out by a suicide car bomber, injuring five people.

A second blast was carried out at a check-post outside the tunnel that killed seven people, including four security officials and two women, while 14 people were critically injured, Geo TV reported.

A passenger bus waiting at the check-post was also damaged in the blast, while a portion of the tunnel was badly destroyed, the report said.

Khalid Khan Omarzai, an official, told DPA the truck was stuffed with around 500 kg of explosives and the bomber rammed it into the inner wall of the tunnel.

The huge explosion led to an oil tanker outside the tunnel catching fire and exploding a few minutes later. The second explosion damaged several vehicles, he said.

Officials at two hospitals in Kohat and Peshawar said they had received eight bodies and 14 seriously injured people.

Following the blasts, security forces sealed the area and suspended all traffic across both sides of the tunnel, causing difficulties to the commuters.

Terrorists have repeatedly targeted the Kohat tunnel, following a crackdown against militants in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa in 2006.

Two back-to-back blasts later rocked the Bara market area of Khyber agency, Aaj TV reported.

Local sources confirmed that a convoy of security forces was targeted in the blast, but the nature of the explosion could not be known, the report said.

Initially, there were no reports of any casualties.

Security forces blocked access to the blast site and curfew was imposed in the market area.

Exchange of fire was also heard for some time after the blast, the report said.

Another blast targeting a police van at Alamdar road in Quetta, capital of Balochistan province, injured seven people, including three children.

Hamid Shakeel, deputy inspector general of police, said the terrorists used 6-7 kg of explosives in the blast.

Pakistani security forces have been targeted by Taliban and Al Qaeda militants ever since a crackdown was launched in the restive tribal areas bordering Afghanistan to flush out militants after the 9/11 terror attack.

Filed under: Terrorism

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