Wednesday, March 16, 2016 7:27 am
Police and hospital authorities in Pakistan confirmed that 16 people were killed and more than two dozen wounded when a bomb blew up inside a bus in Peshawar, the main city of insurgency-wracked northwest, officials said, with the toll feared to rise.
No group has so far claimed responsibility for the explosion, which took place as the bus carrying mainly government employees was passing through the crowded shopping district of Saddar.
But Pakistan has been battling a homegrown Islamist insurgency for more than a decade, with groups such as the Pakistani Taliban routinely carrying out attacks as part of their struggle to overthrow the government.
“At least 16 people were killed and more than 24 were wounded in a blast on a government employees’ bus,” senior police official Mohammad Kashif Zulfiqar told AFP.
Another police official and hospital authorities confirmed the incident and casualties.
Bomb disposal officials said a four-kilogramme (nine-pound) improvised explosive device (IED) had been planted near the bus’s gas cylinder and appeared to have been detonated remotely.
“The IED was fitted with ball bearings and was planted beneath the sixth row of seats from the back,” police official Abbas Majeed added.
Talking to reporters at the site, Abbas Majid Marwat, another senior police source, said the bus was transporting government employees from the northwestern town of Mardan to Peshawar.
Rescue workers at the site were seen carrying the injured from the blue bus on stretchers to waiting ambulances.
Pakistan’s Islamist insurgency began after the US-led invasion of neighbouring Afghanistan in 2001, which led to a spillover of militants across the border and a surge in recruitment for Pakistani extremist groups.