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At least 33 killed as car bomb hits market in Pakistan

A Pakistani man carrying a child rushes away from the site of a blast shortly after a car bomb exploded in Peshawar, Pakistan, Sunday, Sept. 29, 2013. A deadly car bomb exploded on a crowded street in northwestern Pakistan Sunday, in the third blast to hit the troubled city of Peshawar in a week, officials said. (AP Photo/Mohammad Sajjad)
A Pakistani man carrying a child rushes away from the site of a blast shortly after a car bomb exploded in Peshawar, Pakistan, Sunday, Sept. 29, 2013. A deadly car bomb exploded on a crowded street in northwestern Pakistan Sunday, in the third blast to hit the troubled city of Peshawar in a week, officials said. (AP Photo/Mohammad Sajjad)Mohammad Sajjad / AP

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan - A powerful car bomb blast killed at least 33 people, including women and children, in a busy market in the Pakistani city of Peshawar, according to a hospital official.

The explosion -- which sent plumes of dark smoke into the sky and destroyed many shops outside a police station in the historic Qissa Khawani market -- injured some 75 people, said Dr. Arshad Javed, executive director at Peshawar's Lady Reading Hospital.

Six women and four children were among the dead, Javed added.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility.

The bomb that went off Sunday was some 300 yards from the All Saints Church, which was the scene of carnage just a week earlier.  A bomb at the church in western Pakistan killed more than 80 people, one of the deadliest attack on Christians in the predominantly Muslim country.

On Friday, 19 people died when a bomb hit a bus carrying government employees home for the weekend in Peshawar's outskirts.

Nazar Ali, a book shop owner, had just opened his when Sunday's bomb went off.

"It was a huge blast that was followed by fire in vehicles. Thick black smoke covered the air and splinters spread all over. I saw people lying dead and bleeding all over," he told Reuters.

A number of the older buildings in Qissa Khawani are made from wood which easily caught on fire when the bomb went off, senior police officer Shafqat Malik told Reuters.

Violence has been on the rise in the last months, undermining Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif's efforts to end an insurgency by holding peace talks with the Taliban.

Taliban militants have rejected Pakistan's constitution and call for the implementation of Islamic law and for war with India. Sharif and his Indian counterpart Manmohan Singh on are due to meet the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly on Sunday.

Reuters contributed to this report.

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