Dozens of shops were burnt down in a fire triggered by an explosion on a NATO oil tanker on the outskirts of Peshawar Saturday night, police and witnesses said.
According to medics, at least one person was killed and eight wounded in the incident.
The vehicle was part of a convoy of oil tankers and containers carrying military hardware and supplies for US-led Nato troops in Afghanistan.
“The convoy crossed into the Khyber Agency for onward journey to the Torkham border crossing in the afternoon,” an eyewitness told The Express Tribune. “But this oil tanker developed a technical fault and was parked at the Karkhano Market in Peshawar.”
In the meantime, suspected militants planted a ‘magnet bomb’ on the tanker which exploded around 9:20pm.
Witnesses said the militants also exchanged fire with the watchmen of the market before fleeing the scene.
Superintendent Police (SP) Cantonment Shafiullah Khan said that the explosive device weighed around one and a half kilogramme.
The explosion triggered a fire on the tanker which quickly engulfed four markets located nearby.
Shopkeepers in Shinwari market, Khyber market, SS market and National market said that around 50 shops, restaurants, a bank and a mosque were gutted in the fire.
SP Khan, however, said that only two dozen shops were burnt down.
Several fire engines were called in to put out the fire. The fire fighters doused the blaze within an hour.
The injured were rushed to the Hayatabad Medical Complex where medics said they had received a body and eight injured people, one of them in critical condition.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 17th, 2011.