Pakistan car bomb toll passes 100

The death toll from the car bomb in the north-western Pakistani city of Peshawar has risen to 105, a day after the blast.

At least 200 others were injured in the attack. Overnight, more bodies were recovered and some of the wounded died.

Similar bombings have killed hundreds of people in recent weeks, as the army carries out an operation against Taliban militants in South Waziristan.

The head of the Pakistani Taliban has denied responsibility for the attack.

Hakimullah Mehsud told the BBC that the latest attack was orchestrated by the Americans and Pakistani intelligence agencies "to malign the name of the Taliban".

"If we are able to attack sensitive installations... as well as the [army] General Headquarters, then why would we need to attack ordinary people?" he asked in brief telephone interview.

"Our war is only against the government and the security forces. The common people are not part of it," he replied.

The BBC's Syed Shoaib Hasan in Islamabad says that Mr Mehsud's denial of Taliban involvement is likely to be met with much scepticism, even though an increasing number of people do not rule out the involvement of US security agencies in attacks in the country - despite a complete lack of evidence to support this contention.

Deadliest attack

The violence comes as US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton continued her visit to Pakistan addressing a lively question and answer session with students in the city of Lahore.

She acknowledged what she called a trust deficit towards the United States in Pakistan, because of past policies, but said she was working to change that.

A senior Peshawar police officer, Khan Abbas, said three bodies had been recovered from the debris and two of the injured had died overnight in hospital.

A doctor at a Peshawar hospital, Zafar Iqbal, told the AFP news agency that 71 of the 105 dead had been identified.

They included 13 children and 27 women, he said.

Funerals are taking place of the people who died in the attack, which was the deadliest to hit Pakistan this year.

Some security analysts say it could turn the people against militants.

"He who kills a Muslim has no place but hell," Mumtaz Ali, 19, who was injured in the attack, told the Associated Press news agency.

The blast tore through Peshawar's Peepal Mandi market area, destroying several buildings, including a mosque.

Many of the dead were women and children.

Mrs Clinton, who is in Pakistan to discuss US concerns about rising militant attacks and the security of the country's nuclear weapons, condemned the "vicious and brutal" bombing.

"Pakistan is in the midst of an ongoing struggle against tenacious and brutal extremist groups who kill innocent people and terrorise communities," she said in Islamabad on Wednesday.

Mrs Clinton continued her three-day visit to the country on Thursday, when she reached Lahore.

The BBC's Kim Ghattas, who is travelling with her, says that the secretary of state will be visiting religious landmarks.

America's top diplomat will also hold a town hall meeting with university students and speak with business leaders.

Last week, Pakistan launched an offensive in South Waziristan, which is considered to be the main sanctuary for Islamic militants outside Afghanistan.

Correspondents say the Peshawar blasts will come as a violent reminder for the US of the difficult task it is facing in the fight against the Taliban, both in Pakistan and across the border in Afghanistan.

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