Bomb blast at Islamabad market kills 18
Death toll likely to rise with many in critical condition
The aftermath of the blast at an Islamabad fruit market (Aamir Qureshi / AFP)
At least 18 people were killed and 50 others wounded on Wednesday after a bomb struck a crowded vegetable and fruit market in Pakistan’s capital city of Islamabad, officials and medics say.
The death toll is feared to rise as some of the injured are in a critical condition.
“A five kilogram bomb was detonated with a remote controlled device during rush hour in the fruit market located in Islamabad’s Sector I-11,” Sultan Azam, a senior police official, told reporters.
Azam said that explosives were hidden inside a fruit box.
Acting Islamabad Police Chief Khalid Khattak said that 1,500 to 2,000 people were visiting the market when the bomb went off.
The blast left a two-foot crater.
No group has yet claimed responsibility for the attack, but fingers are likely to be pointed at Taliban splinter groups believed to be opposing the ongoing peace talks.
The main militant group, Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), has announced a temporary ceasefire with the government.
Dr Ayesha Isani, a spokesman of Islamabad’s PIMS Hospital, confirmed the latest death toll at 18.
“About 50 people have been brought to the hospital. Out of those, 25 are critically wounded,” Dr Isani said.
It is the second time in two months that Islamabad, which was largely spared by militants, has been a target. In early March, 11 people including a judge were killed in an attack on the city’s district court.
Yesterday, 17 people were killed and dozens of others wounded when a passenger train was hit by a bomb in Pakistan’s insurgency-stricken Balochistan province. Separatist groups claimed responsibility for the attack.
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