6 Dec 2008

Deadly blast in Peshawar

9:51 pm on 6 December 2008

At least 20 people have been killed and dozens injured by a blast in north-western Pakistan, in the city of Peshawar.

The blast happened in a heavily populated area outside a Shia mosque near Friday, near the central Kissa Khwani bazaar. A suicide car bomber is suspected.

The motive for the attack, which damaged a number of buildings, was not immediately clear.

North West Frontier Province police chief Malik Naveed Khan said the bomb contained 20-25kg of explosives.

Earlier on Friday, six people died in what was believed to be a sectarian attack in the Orakzai tribal region.

The BBC reports north-west Pakistan has been the scene of a number of sectarian attacks involving Shia and Sunni Muslims.

Shias make up less than 20% of Pakistan's population and thousands of militants from both their community and from the majority Sunnis have been killed in tit-for-tat attacks over the past decade.

Friday's attacks also come against the backdrop of army operations in north-west Pakistan against al-Qaeda and Taliban fighters and tribesmen who support their cause.