, PESHAWAR, Oct 9 – A car bomb ripped through a crowded bazaar in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar on Friday leaving at least 42 people dead, a minister and police officials said.
The blast hit a shopping area close to the city’s main Khyber Bazaar and ambulances rushed to the scene, said local police official Asghar Hussain.
"The bomb was planted in a car parked in the market," said Mian Iftikhar Hussain, the minister for information in the North West Frontier Province government.
It was not immediately clear if it was a remote-controlled device or a suicide attack.
"We are investigating whether it was a suicide blast or the device was planted in the vehicle," the minister told reporters.
Peshawar is the main city in the northwest and has been a frequent target of militants linked to the Taliban and Al-Qaeda, who are waging a violent insurgency against the Pakistani state.
On September 26 a car bomb killed six people on a road leading to the main army cantonment in Peshawar.
Pakistan’s umbrella Tehreek-e-Taliban (TTP) organisation has threatened to unleash a wave of attacks on government targets to avenge the killing of their leader Baitullah Mehsud in a US drone attack.
Pakistan, on the frontline of the United States’ war on Al-Qaeda, has been hit by a wave of bombings that have killed more than 2,100 people across the nuclear-armed country over the past two years.
The government in Islamabad has vowed to wipe out Islamist militants from Pakistan’s northwest. Last April, troops launched a blistering assault designed to dislodge Pakistani Taliban from the northwest Swat valley.