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Triple blasts hit northwest Pakistan capital near U.S. consulate

5 April 2010 10:12 am - 0     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

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Hours after a suicide attack at a political rally in Pakistan's North West Frontier Province Monday, three explosions went off in rapid succession near the U.S. consulate in the province's capital, Peshawar, police said.

As black smoke billowed into the sky, sounds of loud gunfire filled the air.

It was not immediately known whether the Peshawar blasts resulted in casualties.

The province is rife with Islamic extremists and has been the site of recent clashes between Pakistani security forces and militants.

The suicide attack took place at a rally for the province's ruling Awami National Party in the lower Dir district, said lawmaker Mehmood Zeb Khan.

It killed 20 people and wounded more than 50 others, authorities said.

Hundreds of the participants had gathered for a rally to change the name of the province to Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

The bomber walked into the government building where the meeting was going on and blew himself up, said provincial spokesman Mian Iftikhar Hussain.

The province was given its current name during the British colonial rule. The party, which heads a coalition government in the province, wants the area's name to reflect its majority Pashtun population.

A bill to amend the constitution in support of the name change was expected to be introducted in parliament on Monday.  CNN


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