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Page last updated at 16:00 GMT, Saturday, 17 April 2010 17:00 UK

Pakistan twin bomb attack targets refugees

Pakistani police officers inspect the site of suicide bombing
The prime minister has ordered an inquiry into the attack

At least 40 people have been killed and 60 hurt in a double suicide bombing at a registration point for the displaced in north-west Pakistan, police say.

The bombs detonated just minutes apart in the Kacha Pukha centre on the outskirts of the city of Kohat.

The attack hit a crowd of refugees waiting for food handouts.

More than a million people have been displaced in the tribal belt near the Afghan border, where the Pakistan army is fighting Islamist militants.

A local police spokesman, Khalid Omarzai, said two explosions took place within minutes of each other as food was being distributed.

The BBC's Aleem Maqbool in Pakistan says the victims were Shia Muslims; a Sunni group Lashkar-e-Jhangvi has said it carried out the attacks.

Kacha Pukha offers shelter to people arriving from the Orakzai district, where the military has been fighting militants since the end of 2009.

About 210,000 civilians have been displaced, including nearly 50,000 who have fled their homes in the last month after ground troops moved into the area.

'Barbaric'

Pakistan's President Asif Ali Zardari condemned the attacks and ordered security to be stepped up to "protect people from terrorism incidents".

Map

An inquiry has been ordered into the incident, which defence minister Ahmad Mukhtar described as "highly barbaric and cowardly".

In a statement carried by the Associated Press of Pakistan, he said that terrorists wanted to destabilise the country but every effort would be made to eliminate them.

A spate of bomb attacks across Pakistan blamed on al-Qaeda and Taliban militants has killed more than 3,200 people in less than three years.

US President Barack Obama has called the tribal belt border area the most dangerous place on Earth.

Pakistan is a key ally in Washington's attempt to stabilise neighbouring Afghanistan.



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