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Peshawar car bombing: Toll climbs to 115

October 30, 2009 01:26 IST

The death toll in one of Pakistan's worst terrorist attacks rose to 115 on Thursday with the recovery of 16 more bodies from the rubble of several buildings in Peshawar that collapsed due to the blast and seven people succumbing to their injuries.

Officials had on Wednesday confirmed 92 deaths in the devastating attack in the Peepal Mandi commercial hub in Peshawar. At least 16 bodies were pulled out of the rubble of buildings on Thursday that collapsed due to the blast while seven persons died in hospitals, taking the toll to 115.

Rescue workers worked through the day to remove the rubble of several buildings that collapsed due to the explosion and a subsequent fire.

A 45-member urban search and rescue team sent from Islamabad on Wednesday night used sophisticated equipment like sound and heat detectors during an 11-hour search for survivors.

An official of the team told reporters on Thursday that it had completed its search and no more survivors were believed to be buried under the rubble.

The car bomb packed with 150 kg of explosives went off at the entrance of Meena Bazar, a market exclusively for women.

The blast triggered a massive fire that was brought under control after several hours. Over 200 people were injured in the attack.

A spokesman for Lady Reading Hospital, Peshawar's main healthcare facility, said 157 injured people are currently being treated in different wards.

Many of the dead and injured were women and children.

Officials said several bodies are yet to be identified as they were charred and mutilated. Several residents of the Peepal Mandi area were reported missing.

The blast destroyed 10 buildings and 60 shops.

Local residents said other buildings were in danger of collapsing as their structure and foundations had been badly damaged.

Traders' associations in Peshawar have called for a three-day mourning to condemn the attack, one of the worst witnessed in the city which is no stranger to suicide attacks and bombings.

No group has claimed responsibility for the attack.

Both Taliban and Al Qaeda have reportedly said they were not involved in the bombing.

The News daily quoted an Al Qaeda statement as saying that the group is not involved in killing innocent people.

The report further said an email sent by the banned Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan to media condemned the blast and denied the group's involvement in the incident.
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