Blast kills 17 at Pakistani camp for displaced people

At least 17 people were killed by a car bomb as they waited for food at a camp in northwestPakistanfor those displaced by fighting between government forces and Islamist militants, police have said.

The bomb exploded on Thursday March 21 in the Jalozai camp in Nowshera in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, an area borderingAfghanistanand a stronghold for insurgents bent on topplingPakistan’s US-backed government.

The camp is home to people who have fled violence in ethnic Pashtun areas along the border withAfghanistanwhere al-Qaeda and Taliban militants operate.

Local officials belonging to provincial disaster management authorities and a female worker from a non-governmental organisation (NGO) were among the dead, officials said.

Hundreds of thousands of people have fled from conflict over the past five years or so, from the tribal areas along the border and from elsewhere, such as the Swat valley, northwest ofIslamabad. Many people have been able to go home, especially those from Swat, but thousands remain in camps.

The Pakistani Taliban denied responsibility for the blast. Spokesman Ihsanullah Ihsan said it was ‘inhuman and un-Islamic to target innocents’