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Car bomb targets northwestern Pakistani city

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A car bomb has exploded in a market in northwestern Pakistan, killing at least 11 people, police have said.

The blast occurred in the Matni market area of Peshawar, the provincial capital of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province, on Friday.

Police officials said that the death toll stood at 11, and that the at least 18 wounded had been moved to hospitals.

Mian Iftikhar Hussain, the provincial home minister condemned the attack, saying: "Such attacks cannot deter our resolve in the fight against terrorism."

No one has claimed responsibility and Abdul Sattar Khan, a senior police official, said that police officers were still investigating the cause of the explosion.

Hussain said three men brought the vehicle to a workshop and when a mechanic was working on it the blast occurred.

"We are investigating whether the car was brought to [the] workshop for mechanical repairs or to plant a bomb, or whether the bomb had already been planted and it went off during repair," Hussain said.

Peshawar has witnessed scores of such attacks in recent years, most blamed on the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), who have been waging a campaign against the Pakistani state since 2007.

Soldiers missing in Bajaur

In the Bajaur tribal region, meanwhile, 15 Pakistani soldiers have been reported missing following a clash with local TTP fighters in the town of Salarzai.

Security officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, said that authorities lost contact with the troops on Tuesday after fighting broke out.

Jahangir Azam Wazir, a government administrator in Salarzai, confirmed that "several soldiers" had been missing since Tuesday. He declined to give further details, and the army was not available for comment.

A Taliban spokesman earlier this week claimed that his group had captured 15 soldiers from Salarzai, adding that they would be executed. He said that a video of the execution would be released.

The military launched an operation against TTP fighters in Bajaur last week. Since then, at least 73 fighters and 10 soldiers have been killed in the clashes, local official Nazimeen Khan said. Eleven civilians have also died, he said.


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