Pakistan bomb death toll rises to 29

 

Pakistan's police have said the death toll from yesterday's car bombing in the city of Peshawar rose to 29. Over 100 people were also wounded when the bomb went off near Peshawar’s famed Storytellers Bazaar, wrecking a Shiite Muslim mosque and a hotel and setting a string of vehicles and shops ablaze.

Police said the bomb seemed to contain chemicals designed to spread fire.

"It shook the entire area like an earthquake," said one resident as he tried to remove rubble with his bare hands. "It was a huge and terrible explosion. As we reached here it was all burning. There was rubble all around."

Sunni Muslim militant groups have launched several gun and bomb attacks on minority Shi'ites in the northwest in recent weeks in worsening sectarian violence.

Thousands of people have been killed in tit-for-tat sectarian violence going back to the 1980s.

The majority of Pakistan's Muslims are Sunni but around 15 percent of the nation of 170 million people are Shi'ite.

Sectarian violence has flared in northwest Pakistan over the past year, mostly in the Kurram region on the Afghan border.

Security analysts say al Qaeda and Taliban militants, who are Sunnis and are bitterly opposed to Shi'ites, have stirred up sectarian strife as they expand their influence through the northwest.