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Deadly blast in Pakistan's Peshawar, US mission shut

Written by: Staff
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Peshawar (Pakistan), Mar 28: A bomb blast killed at least one man and wounded 15 others in Peshawar today hours after the United States said it had temporarily closed its consulate in the northwestern Pakistani city after receiving a threat.

The blast was caused by explosives planted on a motorcycle parked in a crowded bazaar in the city centre, according to the city's Senior Superintendent of Police Operations, Saeed Wazir.

Earlier today, a spokeswoman at the U.S. embassy in Islamabad said its consulate in Peshawar, the capital of North West Frontier Province, had been temporarily closed after receiving a threat.

''They received a specific and credible threat,'' spokeswoman Nida Emmons told Reuters, without elaborating.

Emmons said the consulate had been closed ''until further notice'', while U S and Pakistani authorities coordinated on security measures.

''They may have received bomb threats, but the threat was not so great for them to take such a drastic step,'' said Malik Zafar Azam, a Law Minister in the Islamist-led provincial government.

NWFP's provincial government is led by an anti-American Islamist alliance, and anti-American sentiments have been further stirred by the conflict in adjoining tribal regions straddling the Afghan-Pakistan border, where Pakistan, Afghan and U S troops are fighting Taliban and al Qaeda-inspired insurgents.

The United States has maintained its consulate in Peshawar since the 1950s mainly because of the strategic importance of the region during the Cold War and because it lies on the main overland route to Afghanistan.

The consulate was particularly busy during the 1980s when the United States covertly funded a guerrilla war against the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan.

Reuters

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