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Blast Hits Pakistani Market

Bomb Strikes Market Near Islamabad
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WATCH: Bomb Strikes Market Near Islamabad

ISLAMABAD -- Police and hospital officials say a bomb blast on the outskirts of the Pakistani capital, Islamabad, has killed at least 23 people and injured 70.

The bomb went off in a fruit and vegetable market on the border between Islamabad and its twin city of Rawalpindi early on April 9.

Sultan Azar Temuri, the deputy inspector-general of the Islamabad police department, said about five kilograms of explosives were used in the blast and that the bomb had been placed in a fruit box.

Eyewitnesses told RFE/RL's Radio Mashaal that the blast took place as laborers and early-morning shoppers were buying food.

Iqbal Hussain said the bidding for fresh fruit was about to conclude. "People are coming here from different areas to buy vegetables and fruit and later reselling them in their areas," he said.

"Human remains, blood was strewn all over the area," shopkeeper Gohar Khan told Reuters.

The market was located next to a camp for displaced people from fighting in northwestern Pakistan as well as for refugees from Afghanistan.

Such bomb attacks are common in some parts of Pakistan, including the northwestern city of Peshawar and the southern port city of Karachi, but are relatively rare in the capital.

In a statement sent to Radio Mashaal, the Pakistani Taliban (TTP) denied any involvement in the attack on the market. The militant group also said it had nothing to do with the April 8 bomb blast on a train in Balochistan that killed at least 12 people.

The TTP said that it condemns attacks that target civilians.

The Pakistani Taliban and the Pakistani government have a cease-fire agreement while they hold negotiations to end the TTP's years of insurgent activity that has led to tens of thousands of deaths.
With reporting by AFP and AP