At least 20 people were killed and more than 70 others were injured when a bomb went off inside a fruit market in Pakistan's capital Islamabad on Wednesday morning, hospital sources said.
Dr. Ayesha Isani, spokesperson of Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences, said that they have received 18 bodies and 50 injured people at the hospital, out of which at least 25 are in critical condition.
Earlier, Dr. Javed Ikram, Vice Chancellor of the same hospital confirmed about the death of 23 people.
Later the hospital's spokesperson said that they had 18 bodies in the mortuary and police told them about five more bodies at the blast site, but they were actually critically injured people who have been shifted to Operation Theater.
Saira Afzal Tarar, State Health Minister, said that at least two bodies and 20 injured people have also been shifted to Holy Family Hospital in Rawalpindi, sister city of Islamabad.
Police Inspector General Khalid Khattak said that the blast happened when more than 1,500 people were buying and selling fruits in Pir Wadhai fruit market, a big market spreading over an area of one km, located at southwest I-11 sector of Islamabad.
He said that police was patrolling in the market, but they did not have any intelligence tip off of the blast and it is nearly impossible to check all trucks which drop thousands of fruit boxes in the market every day. He said the police plan to work on it after the incident.
The bomb disposal unit said that an estimated five kg of lethal explosives fixed in guava crates were exploded by a remote controlled device.
The Inspector General said that they are investigating about the seven trucks that brought guava crates to the market from central Pakistan.
A fruit vendor in the market said that the Trucks offload fruit inside the market every day at around 6:00 a.m. and buyers start coming at about seven, so the market was very crowded when the blast happened.
He said that the blast victims include vendors, buyers and laborers.
A crater with a radius of three feet appeared at the ground after the blast.
No group has claimed responsibility for the blast yet.
Police cordoned off the area and started investigations.
Both Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and President Mamnoon Hussain condemned the blast and expressed condolence to the bereaved families. The PM also directed hospital administration to provide best possible medical treatment to the injured.
This is the second serious blast that hit Pakistan's capital over the last one month. Earlier on March 3, a twin suicide blast in sector F-8 of the capital left 11 people killed and 25 others injured.
Shahid Ullah Shaid, spokesperson of Pakistan Taliban, denied involvement in the blast saying his group has never favored killing innocent people at public places.
He said that it is the time for the government to find out the secret elements that are involved in such attacks and carried out such blasts in the past under the name of his group.)