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18 killed in Pakistan market blast

A deadly blast has struck a market on the outskirts of Pakistan’s capital, Islamabad, killing at least 18 people, police say.

The high intensity blast took place near a busy fruit and vegetable market in the early hours on Wednesday morning, they add.

Dozens of people have been injured in the explosion, initial reports say.

It comes a day after 13 people were killed in a bomb attack by separatists in Baluchistan province.

Islamabad police chief Sultan Azam Taomori, addressing reporters at the scene, said 37 people were wounded in the attack, the Associated Press news agency reports.

A hospital official, quoted by AFP news agency, said the Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences had received 15 bodies and 35 injured people.

An AFP reporter at the scene said the blast caused a 1.5-metre crater in the ground, which was littered with body parts.

The large market would have been busy during the morning at the time of the attack, the BBC’s Wietske Burema, in Pakistan, says.

Local reporters say the explosives were hidden in boxes of fruit, although this has not yet been confirmed.

Except for an attack on a court house last month, the Pakistani capital has been relatively peaceful in recent times, says the BBC’s Mike Wooldridge.

There is currently a ceasefire between the Pakistani Taliban and the government as efforts are under way to find a peace deal.

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