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Bishkek (AKIpress) - At least 23 people were killed and nearly 120 injured when a powerful bomb went off at a crowded marketplace in Islamabad on early Wednesday, the Times of India reported.
The deadliest bombing occurred at a wholesale fruit and vegetable market in I-10 sector of the capital city located at the edge with Rawalpindi. It came two days before the expiry of the extended unilateral ceasefire announced by Pakistani Taliban as part of a shaky peace talks with the government.
Eyewitnesses said the blast sent boxes of fruit and vegetables flying and left a deep crater at the scene. Police quickly cordoned off the area and started search operation. "It was an act of terrorism," said a local police official. He said the explosives were planted in a box of fruit and may have been detonated remotely.
The dead and wounded were rushed to nearby hospitals in Islamabad and Rawalpindi. "So far, we received 19 dead and 54 injured in the hospital," said Dr Aisha Eisani, the spokeswoman for the Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences (PIMS) in Islamabad.
"Almost all the injured and deceased are adult males, with many exhibiting head injuries. The bodies have been shifted to the mortuary and preserved," she added.
Dr Javed Akram, vice chancellor of PIMS, said that nine of the injured at his facility were in very critical condition. "At least 11 bodies were beyond recognition," he added.
"Around 2,000 people were at the market at the time of the blast," said Khalid Khattak, inspector general of Islamabad's police. "Explosives weighing around 4 or 5 kg were used in the attack," he added. The police chief said it was not humanly possible to check every individual who visited the market.
No group has yet claimed responsibility for the bombing and the Pakistani Taliban in a statement denied responsibility for the attack.