5 killed in Peshawar city blast

PESHAWAR: An explosion rocked a women's market in Pakistan's main northwest city of Peshawar on Wednesday, killing five people in the latest attack to shake the country as the army battles Islamist militants along the Afghan border.

At least 35 people were wounded in the blast, police said. It coincided with a trip to Pakistan by U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, who was in the capital, Islamabad, some three hours drive away.

The explosion hit Peepl Mandi, a neighborhood in the city where many Shiite Muslims live. Police official Sajid Khan said it struck the Mina Bazaar, which caters to female shoppers. Another police official Abdul Sattar confirmed the casualty figures.

The area was full of smoke and very congested, and ambulances were stuck in traffic, Khan said.

No group immediately claimed responsibility, but Peshawar has been the site of many of the attacks staged by Islamist militants this month, a wave of bloodshed that has killed more than 200 people.

The Taliban have warned Pakistan that they would stage more attacks if the army does not end its offensive inSouth Waziristan tribal region, where the military has dispatched some 30,000 troops to flush out insurgents.