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Twin blasts kill 34 in Pakistan

Peshawar/Islamabad: Two bomb blasts ripped through a crowded market in Peshawar city on Saturday, killing 34 people and injuring over 90 others in the latest in a series of terrorist attacks in Pakistan`s restive northwest.

The explosions occurred at Khyber Super Market in Peshawar, the capital of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province that has repeatedly been targeted by militants over the past few years.

Thirty-four people were killed and 94 others injured in the attack, provincial Information Minister Mian Iftikhar Hussain told the media.

Officials at the Lady Reading Hospital described the condition of 21 wounded as serious.

Doctors made an emergency appeal for people to donate blood.

The first blast was a low intensity one and injured a few people, SSP (Operations) Ijaz Ahmed Khan said. The second explosion, which was more powerful, occurred a few minutes later when a large number of people, including journalists and policemen, had gathered in the area.

The explosions occurred within minutes of each other at about midnight. The second blast was caused by an improvised explosive device hidden in a motorcycle.

Several journalists, including the local bureau chief of a news channel, and eight policemen, including two officers, were among the injured.

Officials said they were out of danger. No group claimed responsibility for the blasts.

The blasts triggered a blaze that was extinguished by fire fighters.

Rescue efforts were hampered by a power cut in the area. Security forces cordoned off the area and launched a search operation.

The market was crowded at the time of the blasts as it has several popular eateries and hotels. Footage on television showed debris and bloodstained clothes lying at the site of the blasts.

A wounded man tried to crawl to safety as huge flames rose into the sky behind him.

An electricity transformer burst into flames and the fire engulfed nearby buildings. Several shops were reduced to heaps of rubble and mangled metal.

The blasts blew out the windows of nearby residential buildings.

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