Page last updated at 17:36 GMT, Wednesday, 24 February 2010

'Gas blast' kills four in Pakistani city of Peshawar

Pakistan map

An explosion has killed four people in the city of Peshawar in north-west Pakistan, police say.

They now say the blast occurred after a gas leak and there is no evidence to support their earlier statement that militants had launched a rocket attack.

Residents insist rockets were fired. The dead included two brothers aged 17 and four, AFP news agency said.

Although rocket attacks are rare in Peshawar, the area has seen a spate of deadly militant violence.

More than 600 people have died in militant attacks in Pakistan since October, when Pakistan's army launched an assault against the Taliban.

House destroyed

"We were fast asleep. It was time for Fajr [dawn] prayers. Suddenly there was an explosion. We woke up to that and we saw that the roof of my uncle's house had collapsed and smoke was billowing," Reuters news agency quoted a relative of the victims, Noman Khan, as saying.

"Four people were killed, three injured, and two or three from the house next door have been wounded," he said.

Witnesses said the two-storey house was destroyed.

Pakistan has seen a surge in violence in the past few months since the army began an offensive against the Taliban in Waziristan.

Peshawar has borne the brunt of recent attacks, which have left hundreds dead.

A bomb at a volleyball match in the city on 1 January killed 100 people, while another at a market in October killed 120.

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