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Sat 6 Dec 2008 09:55 AM

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Peshawar death toll rises to 27

Six more bodies found in wreckage of huge bomb blast that ripped through crowded marketplace.

Six more bodies have been found in the wreckage of a huge bomb blast that ripped through a crowded marketplace in northwest Pakistan, taking the toll to 27, police said Saturday.

An explosives-laden car blew up in a busy shopping area late Friday in the city of Peshawar, the capital of the violence-hit province bordering Afghanistan.

A 12-year-old boy was among the victims of the explosion, which hit the city as crowds of people were out shopping for the Muslim festival of Eid, and destroyed shops and hotels.

"We found six bodies buried under the debris of two destroyed hotels and one adjoining house. Among the dead was a 12-year-old boy and a woman," said local police official Noor Mohammad.

"The powerful blast brought down several buildings and destroyed over 50 vehicles in Peshawar's Qisakhawani bazaar."

The blast, which also wounded dozens of people, came hours after six people died in a car bomb explosion at a market in the semi-autonomous Orakzai tribal district near Peshawar.

The bombs were the latest in a wave of suicide and other attacks that have claimed more than 1,500 lives in the past 16 months.

Peshawar is close to Pakistan's semi-autonomous tribal zones, which border Afghanistan and where government forces have been battling pro-Taliban and Al-Qaeda-linked militants.

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