Page last updated at 21:59 GMT, Monday, 19 April 2010 22:59 UK

Peshawar market suicide bombing leaves many dead

Aftermath of market blast

A suicide bombing at a crowded market in the north-western Pakistani city of Peshawar has killed at least 23 people, police and officials say.

The bomb went off in the centre of the city as police watched over a protest rally against power cuts.

One of the city's most senior police officers was killed. No group has claimed the attack - the Taliban have carried out dozens of recent bombings.

Earlier, a bomb blast outside a city school killed a boy and wounded others.

Monday evening's explosion happened in Peshawar's Qissa Khawani (Storytellers' Bazaar) soon after the end of a rally against soaring inflation and power shortages organised by the Jamaat-i-Islami party.

Suddenly the explosion took place. Everywhere there were dead bodies
Witness Khalid Khan

Police officers and demonstrators were said to be among the dead.

Witness Khalid Khan said he had spoken to a senior policeman just before he was killed.

"A public meeting was on going when I was here, there were more than 100 people at that time.

"I was telling the deputy superintendent of police... to keep safe as there are a lot of bombs exploding nowadays.

"He answered that there is nothing to fear. As I went a little further up to the square, suddenly the explosion took place. Everywhere there were dead bodies."

Pakistani media named the officer as Deputy Supt Gulfat Hussain.

The BBC's Aleem Maqbool says Taliban militants will be suspected of carrying out the attack.

They have recently come under increasing pressure across north-west Pakistan, as the Pakistani military carries out operations against them.

Dozens of militants have been killed, but it is clear they still have the ability to carry out violent revenge attacks, our correspondent adds.

Hundreds of people have been killed in militant attacks across Pakistan since the military launched operations against the Taliban last autumn. Peshawar has borne the brunt of this violence.

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