ISLAMABAD – At least 23 people were killed and over 70 others injured when a bomb went off inside a fruit market in Islamabad on Wednesday, hospital sources said.
The spokesperson of Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences, Dr Ayesha Isani, said that they have received 18 bodies and 50 injured people at the hospital, out of which at least 25 were in critical condition.
Earlier, Dr Javed Ikram, Vice Chancellor of the same hospital, confirmed the death of 23 people.
Later the hospital’s spokesperson said that they had 18 bodies in the mortuary and police told them about five more bodies at the blast site were actually critically injured people who have been shifted to Operation Theater.
Saira Afzal Tarar, State Health Minister, said that at least two bodies and 20 injured people have also been shifted to Holy Family Hospital in Rawalpindi, sister city of Islamabad.
Police Inspector General Khalid Khattak said that the blast occurred when over 1,500 people were buying and selling fruits in Pir Wadhai fruit market, a big market spreading over an area of one kilometre.
He said that police was patrolling in the market but they did not have any intelligence tip off of the blast and it is nearly impossible to check all trucks which drop thousands of fruit boxes in the market every day.
He said that the police plan to work on it after the incident.
The Bomb Disposal Unit said that an estimated 5kg of lethal explosives fixed in guava crates were exploded by a remote controlled device.
The Inspector-General said that they were investigating about the seven trucks that brought guava crates to the market from central Pakistan.
A fruit vendor in the market said that the trucks offload fruit inside the market every day at around 6 a.m. and buyers start coming at about seven, so the market was crowded when the blast happened.
He said that the blast victims included vendors, buyers and labourers.
A crater with a radius of three feet appeared at the ground after the blast.
No group has claimed responsibility for the blast yet.
Police cordoned off the area and started investigations.
Both Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and President Mamnoon Hussain condemned the blast and expressed condolence to the bereaved families.
The prime minister also directed hospital administration to provide best possible medical treatment to the injured.
This is the second serious blast that hit Pakistan’s capital over the last one month.
Earlier, on March 3, a twin suicide blast in sector F-8 of the capital left 11 people killed and 25 others injured. (Xinhua/NAN)