Asia

Deadly car bomb hits Pakistan's Jalozai refugee camp

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At least 15 people have been killed and 30 hurt after a car bombing at the Jalozai refugee camp near the Pakistani city of Peshawar, officials say.

One report suggests people were lining up for food at the time of the blast.

The camp houses people fleeing unrest in the tribal districts bordering Afghanistan, where many Taliban- and al-Qaeda-linked militants shelter.

But police say the camp is also used as a hideout by some militants. No group has said it carried out the attack

Attacks on refugee camps in Pakistan are extremely rare, although there have been concerns over the years that militants would try to infiltrate Jalozai and other camps.

The BBC's M Ilyas Khan in Islamabad points out that last week, people linked to one of those groups, Lashkar-e-Islam, were taken into custody by a government-backed tribal force. Police suspect Thursday's bombing may be a response to that.

Live television footage showed ambulances taking victims of the blast to hospital. The bomb left a crater and police are sifting through the wreckage of mangled cars to collect evidence.

The police official responsible for security of the camp, Fuad Khan, told the AFP news agency that the bomb exploded in a car parked near the administration office where refugees were lining up to get rations and new arrivals were being registered.

"I saw about 20 casualties around me as the smoke and dust cleared," he said.

Pakistan on Wednesday announced that elections will be held on 11 May in what will be the first democratic transition between an elected civilian government to another. However concerns about security are casting a shadow over preparations for the vote.

Our correspondent says that the campaign will be the first time that political parties are allowed to contest the vote in the tribal areas, a reform introduced by the outgoing government in a bid to fight militancy.