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Bomb at Pakistani bazaar kills 43; Taliban suspected

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By The Los Angeles Times
Sunday, Sept. 29, 2013, 7:06 p.m.

PESHAWAR, Pakistan — A car bomb in Peshawar, the third in a particularly violent week for the northwestern Pakistani city, killed at least 43 people and wounded more than 100 on Sunday in a crowded market about 350 yards from where a memorial service was being held for the victims of a church bombing last week.

Bomb squad head Shafqat Malik said the bomb was planted in a car parked in front of a small hotel in the Qissa Khwani bazaar, the city's oldest and one of its biggest. The device used about 440 pounds of explosives and was detonated by remote control, he added, leaving a crater 5 feet deep.

“This car was converted into a bomb,” Malik said at the site. “Sometimes (terrorists) are successful and sometimes we are.”

Pedestrians were just starting their Sunday shopping shortly before noon when the blast occurred near a mosque and a police station, witnesses said, destroying shops, cars and rickshaws. Six children and two women reportedly were among the dead. Officials said, based on an initial assessment, that the police station was not the intended target.

No one took immediate responsibility, although suspicion fell on the Taliban, which earlier claimed responsibility for the two bombings last week. Analysts said the confluence of three relatively large attacks in quick succession appeared to be part of a campaign by the Taliban to discredit possible peace talks with the government.

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