Thirty-four persons were killed and over 80 others, including many journalists and some policemen, were injured in twin blasts near the offices of The News in Khyber Super Market here late on Saturday night.

The first blast occurred in a small restaurant at the back of the offices of The News and Geo in the densely populated Khyber Super Market in Peshawar Cantonment at around 11:45pm. When people, many of them journalists, gathered at the site of the explosion for coverage and rescue of the wounded, another powerful bomb ripped through.

Many of the journalists, rescue workers and policemen were either killed or injured in the two successive blasts.

There were reports that the first blast was of crackers to trap the media, police and rescue workers. A fire erupted after the second powerful explosion that engulfed the nearby Mumtaz Tower and other buildings. Windowpanes of several nearby buildings were smashed.

There were unconfirmed reports that the deceased included a local journalist. SP Cantt Shafiullah was also among those wounded.

The injured journalists included Sub-Editor of The News Barkatullah Marwat, Imran Bukhari and Safiullah of Dunya News and Fawad Ali Shah, a free-lancer.

“I was on the spot after the first blast when another powerful bomb went off,” said Imran Bukhari who sustained injuries to his leg. He said some of his friends in the media and police, who were standing close to him, were yet to be located.

Army and policemen cordoned off the area after the explosions. Officials of Rescue 1122 and other organisations were carrying the wounded to the Lady Reading Hospital. The fire brigade was busy in extinguishing the fire.

Rawalpindi News Desk adds: Talking to a private television channel, Provincial Information Minister Mian Iftikhar Hussain confirmed that 34 persons were killed and 90 others injured in the explosions.

The minister termed the law and order situation in the province as very bad.