Bombings kill 34 in northwest Pakistan

PESHAWAR, Pakistan Sat Jun 16, 2012 3:10pm EDT

Security officials, residents and members of the media gather at the site of a bomb attack in Landi Kotal, northwest Pakistan June 16, 2012. The bomb planted in a pickup truck killed at least 13 people at the market in northwest Pakistan on Saturday and the death toll could rise, security and hospital officials said. REUTERS/Shahid Shinwari

Security officials, residents and members of the media gather at the site of a bomb attack in Landi Kotal, northwest Pakistan June 16, 2012. The bomb planted in a pickup truck killed at least 13 people at the market in northwest Pakistan on Saturday and the death toll could rise, security and hospital officials said.

Credit: Reuters/Shahid Shinwari

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PESHAWAR, Pakistan (Reuters) - A bomb in a pickup truck killed at least 26 people at a market in northwest Pakistan on Saturday and wounded 65, security and hospital officials said, in one of the largest bombing death tolls in weeks.

The target in the town of Landi Kotal appeared to be a tribal leader allied with the government against the Pakistani Taliban, the Islamist militant group blamed for many of the suicide bombings across the country, security officials said.

Hospital officials said 65 people were wounded, most of them fruit and vegetable vendors.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility.

"The blast was so powerful, it was heard far and wide and caused damage to nearby buildings," said resident Sher Mohammad Shinwari.

The Pakistani Taliban are seeking to topple the U.S.-backed government. Suicide attacks have eased in recent months but there are no signs Pakistan's military has broken the back of the group.

In a separate incident in the northwestern district of Kohat, a homemade bomb exploded next to a police vehicle, killing eight people, including four policemen, and wounded at least six others, security officials said.

(Reporting by Jibran Ahmad, Ibrahim Shinwari and Ismail Khan; Writing by Michael Georgy; Editing by Andrew Roche)

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