Bomb Hidden in Fruit Crate Kills 20 in Pakistan’s Capital

RAWALPINDI, Pakistan - A massive bomb hidden in a box of fruit killed at least 20 people and injured some 70 at a farmers’ market in the outskirts of Pakistan’s capital, officials said on Wednesday.

Medical officials had initially put the death toll at 23 but later lowered it to 20. There was no explanation for the change. Ten of the injured were listed in critical condition, they said.

Body parts, stained clothes and patches of blood littered the ground in the wake of the attack in the wholesale fruit and vegetable market that lies between Islamabad and its twin city of Rawalpindi.

"I saw body parts flying in the air," fruit trader Afzal Khan told The Associated Press. "People were dying. People were crying. People were running."

Image: A Pakistani boy mourns over the death of his family member, a victim of bomb blast, outside a morgue in a local hospital in Islamabad
A boy mourns the death of a family member, a victim of the bomb blast, outside a morgue in Islamabad on Wednesday. Anjum Naveed / AP

The bomb, which officials say was in a crate of guavas, went off during morning rush hour.

The Taliban initially denied responsibility for the attack in Rawalpindi, whose suburbs blend into the capital of Islamabad and which is home to the Pakistani military's headquarters. The blast occurred far from army buildings and the purpose of the attack was unclear.

Pakistan is in peace talks with the Pakistani Taliban, which is supposed to be observing a ceasefire until April 10 but is riven with internal divisions. Militants are demanding the release of hundreds of prisoners and the withdrawal of the army from some of the tribal areas along the border with Afghanistan.

On Tuesday, a bomb blast killed 17 people and injured 29 when it ripped through a passenger train travelling through southern Pakistan on Tuesday, police said.

Reuters and The Associated Press contributed to this report.