Peshawar blast death toll rises

8 03 2009

Source: Al jazeera

The bodies of more victims were uncovered on Saturday from the wreckage of the blast [AFP]

The death toll from a car-bomb attack on a crowded market in northwest Pakistan has risen to 27.

Police found six more bodies among the wreckage on Saturday, a day after the blast which went off close to a market in Peshawar called Qissakahani bazaar.

About 100 people were wounded when the car bomb went off on Friday, wrecking a Shia mosque, a hotel and setting a string of vehicles and shops ablaze, Mohammed Khan, a local police official, said.

A 12-year-old boy was among the victims of the explosion, which hit the city as crowds of people were out shopping in the run-up to the Muslim festival of Eid al-Adha.

“We found six bodies buried under the debris of two destroyed hotels and one adjoining house. Among the dead was a 12-year-old boy and a woman,” Noor Mohammad, another local police official, said.

“The powerful blast brought down several buildings and destroyed over 50 vehicles.”

Deadly explosion

Television footage showed survivors frantically carrying bloodied victims through the rubble to private cars and ambulances as firefighters sought to douse the flames.

Some witnesses said the explosion ripped open a natural gas pipeline, creating a blaze that spread to nearby buildings and shops.

In Video

Peshawar after the blast

“The fire broke out again Saturday morning and firefighters were called in to put it down,” said Mohammad Khalil, whose shop was gutted by the flames.

Neither the motive nor the culprits behind the blast were clear, but Haider Khan Hoti, the head of the NWFP government, said it was possible that “external forces” could be to blame.

Kamal Hyder, Al Jazeera’s correspondent reporting from Peshawar, said that the phrase could refer to Indian involvement.

Zaffar Abbas, the Islamabad editor of Pakistan’s Dawn newspaper, told Al Jazeera: “This was different in the sense that it was carried out in a public place, rather than any of the security forces being the target.

“That is where the speculation is that it could be external forces.”

‘External forces’

“The reason for that is that the Taliban and al-Qaeda have a major fight on their hands in Afghanistan and therefore more and more people here are inclined to believe that what is happening on the Pakistan side has a foreign dimension to it,” he said.

Some witnesses said the explosion ripped open a natural gas pipeline starting a blaze [AFP]

“There is also a considerable anger in this city – as well as the country – after allegations were hurled at Pakistan for what happened in Mumbai.”

The Peshawar bombing was the second blast in a Shia area in the northwest of the country on Friday.

Further adding to concerns about “external forces”, a suspected US missile attack reportedly killed three people in a stronghold of the Taliban and al-Qaeda near the border with Afghanistan.

There have been more than 30 suspected US missile attacks inside Pakistani territory since August

In another development, Pakistan’s Dawn daily reported on Saturday that the country’s security forces had been put on high alert after a hoax caller pretending to be India’s foreign minister contacted Asif Ali Zardari, the Pakistani president.

High alert

The incident occurred on November 28, two days after the co-ordinated attacks on Mumbai, the Indian financial capital.

The caller ignored Zardari’s conciliatory language and directly threatened to take military action if Pakistan failed to act immediately against the supposed perpetrators of the slaughter in Mumbai.

Throughout the next 24 hours Pakistan’s air force was put on “highest alert” as the military watched anxiously for any sign of Indian aggression, the report said.

Dawn’s Abbas told Al Jazeera: “To some extent there was an escalation in tension. There was a bit of panic in Islamabad. The security forces started to assess the whole situation and some drills were carried out.

“But to say the war was imminent is a bit of a exaggeration because there are still two lines of communication between the two countries.

“So, no, nobody was going to war. But the alarming thing is that this kind of phone call can create this kind of panic.”

Pakistani officials said the caller ID was a New Delhi number, and some believe the call was made from India’s external affair’s ministry.

But Indian officials have denied this to US counterparts and maintained that the number could have been manipulated, Dawn reported.

Major terror attacks world over

11 11 2008

Here’s a map indicating countries around the world affected by terrorism. Figures denote the number of lives lost to the menace.

Major terror attacks around the world
Venkatesha Babu
Source: Indiatoday
Mumbai, April 30, 2007

Here’s a list of some of the major terror attacks that have taken place the world over.

The Marriott after the blast September 20, 2008: A massive suicide truck bomb attack on The Marriott hotel in Islamabad kills over 60.
September 6, 2008: Over 50 people are killed in two blasts that rip through Peshawar.
July 7, 2008: At least 58 are killed when an automobile laden with explosives blows up in front of the Indian embassy in Kabul.
June 17, 2008: Over 63 are killed when a minibus laden with explosives is detonated in a marketplace in Baghdad.
Benazir, minutes before the attack
February 1, 2008: Over 98 people are killed when mentally unstable women were strapped with explosives and blown up in a Baghdad market.
January 16, 2008: Civilian bus bombed in Buttala, Sri Lanka. At least 30 are killed.
January 10, 2008: 23 killed in suicide attack in Pakistan.
December 27, 2007: Benazir Bhutto is assassinated. At least 24 others are also killed in the attack on her rally in Rawalpindi.
November 6, 2007: Eighty people are killed in an explosion outside a sugar factory in Afghanistan.
October 18, 2007: 136 people are killed in an attack upon the return of former prime minister Benazir Bhutto in Karachi.
Mangled remains of a bus during the London blasts
August 14, 2007: As many as 500 people are killed in Qahtaniya, Iraq.
April 18, 2007: A series of explosions in Baghdad register a massive toll of 198 people.
March 27, 2007: Two truck bombs kill over 152 and injure 347 in Tal Afar.
March 6, 2007: 114 Shiite pilgrims are killed in Hilla, Iraq.
January 22, 2007: At least 131 are killed in a suicide attack in an Iraq market.
November 23, 2006: At least 215 people are killed in a series of car bomb attacks in Iraq’s Sadr City.
July 9, 2006: 40 Sunni civilians are massacred by Shia militants in Baghdad.
April 11, 2006: 57 Sunni worshippers are killed in an attack in Karachi.
Damaged remains of a train after blasts in Madrid
July 7, 2005: 56 people are killed in blasts in one double-decker bus and three underground trains in London.
March 19, 2005: Fifteen people are killed, 10 of them policemen, in two explosions in Thailand.
September 1-3, 2004: Beslan school hostage situation in Russia results in the loss of 344 lives, mainly children.
March 11, 2004: Blasts in commuter trains in Madrid kill 191.
March 2, 2004: Suicide blasts in Shia holy sites kill 181 in Iraq.
February 27, 2004: 116 people are killed in a ferry bombing in the Philippines.
December 5, 2003: Suicide attack on a train in Russia kills at least 46.
The twin towers of the World Trade Center
August 1, 2003: Explosion in hospital in Mozdok (Russia) kills at least 50.
May 12, 2003: A truck bomb attack on a government building in the Chechen town of Znamenskoye kills 59.
March 13, 2003: Serbian prime minister Zoran Djindjic is assassinated by snipers.
September 11, 2001: Attacks on the World Trade Center and The Pentagon kill 2,997 people immediately, making the incident the most catastrophic terror attack known to man.
March 24, 2001: 23 dead and 93 injured in three bomb attacks in Russia.