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8 killed, 40 injured in Pakistan market blast

March 22, 2013 16:34 IST

A powerful bomb ripped through a crowded market at Dera Allah Yar town in the restive Balochistan province of Pakistan on Friday, killing eight persons and injuring more than 40 others, officials said. The blast occurred at Quetta Road, a market in Dera Allah Yar, the headquarters of Jaffarabad district. The area was crowded at the time of the attack.

Witnesses said the explosion threw up dust and smoke and people ran in panic. Three children were among the dead, officials said.

Forty injured persons were taken to a nearby hospital. Officials described the condition of 15 of them as serious. District police chief Zulfiqar Ali said the bomb was hidden in a rickshaw and detonated by remote control. An estimated 20 kg of explosives were used in the attack.

"Apparently, the target of the blast was security personnel who pass through and patrol the Quetta-Jacobabad highway that runs through Dera Allah Yar," he said.

Footage on television showed local residents putting the injured in private vehicles and ambulances and rushing them to hospital. Eight shops and a motorcycle were destroyed by the blast.

No group claimed responsibility for the attack. Balochistan has been rocked by sectarian, ethnic and terrorist violence since last year. Several Baloch nationalist groups are involved in an insurgency in the resource-rich province.

Earlier this year, nearly 200 Shia Hazaras were killed in two bomb attacks in Quetta, the provincial capital.

Rezaul H Laskar in Islamabad