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Suicide bomb blast kills at least 49 in northern Pakistan

  • Story Highlights
  • At least 49 killed after bomb explodes in busy market in Peshawar, Pakistan
  • Officials say 135 people were injured in the explosion about noon local time
  • Geo TV reported the blast was caused by a vehicle bomb set on a timer
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ISLAMABAD, Pakistan (CNN) -- A suicide car bomb in a bustling market in the Pakistani city of Peshawar killed at least 49 people Friday, a government official said.

The explosion injured 135 people, said Syed Zahir Shah, health minister for Pakistan's North West Frontier Province.

A moving car carrying 50 kilograms (110 pounds) of explosives detonated about noon, according to a bomb disposal squad.

It was the deadliest suicide attack ever in Peshawar, said Anis Khan, a government official.

Bodies were strewn about Khyber Bazaar, a commercial hub in the northern Pakistani city, especially congested on Friday, a day off for Muslims from work and school.

Footage from CNN affiliate Geo TV showed the charred remains of vehicles and wards at Lady Reading Hospital teeming with the wounded, including children.

The provincial government building sits less than a mile from Khyber Bazaar and lawmakers were in session when the bomb exploded, said Mian Iftikar Hussein, the provincial information minister.

Earlier Friday near Peshawar, at least 15 militants attacked and torched seven vehicles, four belonging to NATO, on their way to Afghanistan, Police Inspector Atiq Shah said.

Peshawar sits on the main supply route into Afghanistan and is the gateway to Pakistan's ungoverned tribal regions.

The two attacks Friday come as Pakistani officials have praised efforts to quell militants in the south Asian nation. The summer had been relatively quiet, but violence has been on an uptick in recent weeks.

A suicide attack at the offices of the U.N. World Food Programme in Islamabad on Monday killed five employees and wounded several others. Last month, several blasts in northern Pakistan left 17 people dead.

-- CNN's Reza Sayah and journalist Nasir Habib contributed to this report.

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