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Pakistani militants kill 58 in bombings in two cities

LAHORE, Pakistan — Twin blasts at a market in eastern Pakistan killed up to 48 people as militants struck back amid an army offensive against the Taliban.

Earlier Monday, a suicide bomber killed 10 outside a courthouse in the northwestern city of Peshawar.

Meanwhile, a U.S. missile strike early today killed at least three in a troubled northwestern tribal region near the Afghan border, two intelligence officials said.

More than 100 people were also injured late Monday in the bombings in Lahore. The bombs ripped through a market popular with women around 9 p.m. local time, igniting a massive fire.

Lahore's top government official, Khusro Pervaiz, said there were 36 dead and about 100 wounded. Local media, however, reported today that 12 more people died overnight at hospitals, raising the death toll to 48.

The attack was timed to take place when the Moon Market, which sells women's clothing, shoes and cosmetics, was its busiest. Authorities initially said the bombs at the market were believed to be remote-controlled, then said a suicide bomber was suspected to have carried out at least one. The blasts came within 30 seconds of each other.

Most of the attacks in recent weeks have been directed at security forces, though several have targeted crowded public spaces such as markets, apparently to create public anger and increase pressure on the government to halt its offensive on the Taliban in South Waziristan, a tribal region bordering Afghanistan where al-Qaida has also proliferated.

Pakistani militants kill 58 in bombings in two cities 12/07/09 [Last modified: Tuesday, December 8, 2009 12:02am]
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