Pakistan: Peshawar hit by triple bomb blasts

Monday, April 5, 2010

Three bombs were detonated near the U.S. consulate in Peshawar, the capital of the North-West Frontier Province of Pakistan on Monday. The attack occurred within hours of a suicide blast during a political rally which killed 38 people, according to officials.

According to reports, a gun battle followed the attacks. Smoke clouds were seen over the region; several buildings collapsed due to the blast. "I saw attackers in two vehicles. Some of them carried rocket-propelled grenades. They first opened fire at security personnel at the post near the consulate and then blasts went off," eyewitness Siraj Afridi told Reuters news agency.

Other residents claimed the blast near the U.S. consulate was followed by two successive blasts in the same area. The US consulate in Islamabad denied receiving any information. Witnesses stated that soldiers had cut and ordered people to remain inside their houses. Helicopters of the Pakistani security forces hovered overhead.

A doctor at the principal hospital in the city, which is close to the Afghanistan border and has been affected by numerous bomb explosions in the past year, claimed one person had been killed and one wounded. No official information about the death toll was available. Security forces were in search of the attackers, according to officials.

"There were three blasts. The first happened at a security post while two others about 200 meters away, near the consulate," an unidentified local security official, told Reuters news agency. "We don't know exactly whether any attackers are left. The area has been cordoned off and forces are clearing it," he added.

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