2 explosions kill 24 people in Pakistan

A powerful suicide bomb ripped through a packed bakery in the Pakistani military town of Nowshera late Sunday, killing at least 18 people. The attack came just hours after an explosion in nearby Peshawar left six dead.

Scores of people were injured in the two bombings, officials and hospital staff said.

Turk Ali Shah, a police department spokesman in Nowshera, about 25 miles east of Peshawar, said many of the bodies were burned beyond recognition, complicating identification.

Army officers were among the dead, said local officials who requested anonymity, adding that the property belonged to the military.


The attacks came two days after Al Qaeda-linked militant leader Ilyas Kashmiri reportedly was killed by a U.S. drone attack in the Pakistani village of Ghwa Khwa. His followers had vowed retribution attacks, but there was no immediate claim of responsibility in either of Sunday’s bombings.

Militants have stepped up attacks on Pakistani military targets lately, including last month’s assault on the Mehran naval base in the southern port city of Karachi that left at least 10 security personnel dead.

Police official Fazal Maula told the Associated Press that the attacker in Nowshera was a young man who carried around 4 pounds of explosives.

Sohail Khan, a witness, said he saw charred bodies in the hospital, adding that a huge fire triggered by the blast had reduced the bakery and adjacent restaurant to ashes. “There was total chaos in the town, and the area is now without electricity,” he said.

Earlier in the day, a bomb planted in a pickup truck exploded on the outskirts of Peshawar, killing six people. Police said the attacker parked the truck at a bazaar, and the explosion apparently was triggered by a timer.

Special correspondent Ali reported from Peshawar and Times staff writer Magnier from Islamabad.