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Deadly blast in northwest Pakistan

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A powerful blast at a bus stand in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar has killed at least 12 people, hospital officials have said.

Dozens more are said to have been wounded in the blast, they said, with at least 10 of them in a serious condition, doctors say.

Ambulances are rushing to scene, located on the outskirts of the city, from Peshawar's main Lady Reading Hospital.

Local TV footage showed at least half a dozen minibuses damaged or completely destroyed by the blast at the bus stand, which is located on the road that leads towards the garrison city of Kohat. Officials said there were many passengers present at the terminal when the bomb went off.

"It was a car bomb blast ... we are investigating whether a suicide bomber was involved or not," senior police official Kalam Khan told the AFP news agency.

Bomb disposal chief Shafqat Malik said 45 kilograms of explosives and mortar shells were packed into the car to maximise destruction when the timed device detonated.

Rahim Jan, a doctor at the Lady Reading Hospital, said that a state of emergency had been declared by medical authorities. Several of the bodies, he said, were "charred beyond recognition".

The blast badly damaged many of the vehicles waiting to transport passengers to various parts of the country. Some vehicles were blackened, and others were completely destroyed.

Peshawar, the capital of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province, is located near the border with Pakistan's federally adminstered tribal areas, the main sanctuary for members of the Tehreek-e-Taliban, a Pakistan-based group that has been at war with the government for the last five years.


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