At least 31 persons were killed, and 50 others injured in a bomb blast at a crowded marketplace in Pakistan’s northwestern tribal region on Friday.
According to the senior local official, Khalid Iqbal, the attack took place during the regular Friday bazaar in Kalaya, a town in a Shiite-dominated area of Orakzai tribal district.
Initial investigations showed it was an improvised explosive device hidden in a carton of vegetables, but officials later said it had been a suicide blast.
“It’s not clear whether the bomber was on foot or riding a motorcycle,” senior official Ameen Ullah told AFP.
Shahbaz Ali, a resident who was buying food in the market, said he had seen a boy with his face covered ride up on a motorcycle.
“Suddenly a blast took place and then I was unconscious,” he told AFP.
Ullah said 31 people had been killed, including 22 Shiite Muslims. More than 50 people were wounded, with 17 of them in critical condition, he said. Tribal police confirmed the toll.
Many of the wounded were taken to a hospital in Kohat, a city in neighboring Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, where doctors said all staff had been summoned to the trauma center.
Ambulances could be seen outside the hospital, where relatives were awaiting news of their loved ones. One man was searching people before they entered the building, a precaution against a secondary bombing targeting hospital staff.
“We have received one dead body and 28 injured, three of them were serious and taken to Peshawar,” Fazl Ur Reham, deputy medical superintendent at the hospital, told AFP by telephone.
Six other wounded were undergoing surgery, he said. Most of the injured had been hit by ball bearings and fragments of the bomb.
“We expect more injured from the site,” he added.