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Page last updated at 13:56 GMT, Friday, 16 October 2009 14:56 UK

Bloodshed and panic in Peshawar blast

An injured person is carried away from the scene of Friday's attack
The explosion went off as schools were dispersing

BBC Pashto's Rahmanullah went to the scene of the latest blast to strike the north-western city of Peshawar and heard from local residents about the chaos and fear in the immediate aftermath of the attack.

"It almost sounded like a blast inside my house. I was deafened by it for several minutes," says 14-year-old Asif, an eyewitness to Friday's blast.

Asif, who lives in the army cantonment neighbourhood where the blast occured, rushed out to see what had happened.

"It was all smoke and dust," he said.

The teenager saw about five people lying on the road, soaked in blood.

"A dead woman's body was lying near the mosque, and some body parts were strewn across the street," he said.

The building of the Crime Investigation Agency (CIA) which was targeted by a suicide bomber on Friday is located only a short distance from the busy commercial area of the Peshawar cantonment.

The entire area reverberated with the sound of the explosion as people ran for cover.

A portion of the CIA building was damaged, as were a nearby mosque and a military checkpoint across the street.

The car that exploded next to the CIA building left a deep crater in the ground.

Opposite the CIA building, a fruit vendor's shack was reduced to rubble with produce scattered all over the road.

A man on the spot said the vendor was injured.

"He was taken away by an ambulance. He was still alive, but was in bad shape," the witness said.

Parents' panic

Injured person is rushed to hospital
Militant attacks have been taking place almost daily across Pakistan

The explosion occurred at a time when schools close for the day and witnesses said at least one of the victims was a schoolboy who was walking home.

Many parents said they rushed out after the blast to check if their children were hurt.

Alamgir Bhittani, a Reuters correspondent who lives in the area, was one such parent.

"Two of my children go to school. One of them had just entered the house when I heard the explosion," he says.

"I ran out. My second child was standing outside the door. I thanked God. It was as though I had just averted doomsday."

Mr Bhittani also said the street was enveloped in smoke and dust.

"I saw some dead bodies and body parts."

Another neighbour said he heard the explosion minutes after his wife left to attend a wedding in the neighbourhood. She was unhurt.

The army and the police put a cordon across the scene of the blast and were not allowing people to pass.

Many people living in the neighbourhood were left stranded on the main street.

Among them was a woman who was returning after buying groceries. She had apparently left her children at home, close to the CIA building.

"My heart is bleeding for my children, and you are telling me I can't go home?" she pleaded with an army soldier.

The soldier remained unmoved.



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