At least 22 killed in blast in central Pakistan

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Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Location of the Punjab province in Pakistan
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A car bomb has killed at least 22 people and injured 70 injured in Dera Ghazi Khan, Pakistan according to local officials. The bomb exploded in a market in the town in the central Punjab province.

"The whole market has collapsed," said local resident Raza Khan to the Associated Press news agency. "There is smoke and people running here and there."

According to district health officer Dr Pervez Haider Altaf, rescuers were searching for survivors. Officials have declared a state of emergency. "The hospital in the town has been crowded by the people looking for their relatives. Rescue efforts are still going on," he said.

The town commissioner, Hassan Ibqal also spoke of the rescue attempts. "There are many people trapped in the rubble after the powerful blast demolished some 10 shops […] The rescue work is under way and we fear the toll may go up," he said, blaming the attacks on terrorists. "It was a terrorist activity, similar to those being carried out in other parts of the country." he added.

The attack also damaged the house of Zulfiqar Khosa, the Punjabi chief minister's adviser, although he was not hurt. It is unclear whether he was the intended target of the attack. So far no group has claimed responsibility for the bombing.