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Blast in northwestern Pakistan market kills at least 16

A car bomb explosion in a market in northwestern Pakistan has killed as least 16 people. No one has claimed responsibility for the attack but al Qaeda-linked groups have often targeted this semi-autonomous region.

A car bomb explosion killed at least 16 people and wounded dozens more in a Pakistani market on Monday in the northwestern town of Jamrud close to the Afghan border, officials said.

Jamrud is in Khyber district, which is part of Pakistan's semi-autonomous tribal belt known for Taliban and al Qaeda-linked militant group activity.

"Sixteen people were killed and around 50 injured," district administrator Mutahir Zeb said.

The attack occurred near the office of a senior government official but it was unclear if he was the target of the attack, Pakistani television news channels reported.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility but militants fighting the Pakistani state have launched numerous attacks in ethnic Pashtun areas along the Afghan border.

Pakistan suffers frequent bomb and suicide attacks blamed on Islamist militant groups.

On Saturday, a team of suicide bombers and gunmen attacked the airport in the region's main city of Peshawar, a city close to Jamrud, sparking a lengthy gun battle. The attack forced authorities to close the airport which is also home to a Pakistan Air Force (PAF) base.

The Pakistani Taliban claimed responsibility for that attack.

hc/pfd (Reuters, AFP, dpa)