A blast apparently aimed at Pakistani security forces ripped through a busy market in the northwestern Swat Valley on Monday, killing at least 6 people and wounding dozens of others, officials and witnesses said.
Swat police Chief Mohammad Idrees said items found at the scene of the attack in Mingora suggested it may have been a suicide bombing, though an investigation would be needed to confirm it.
Witness Rahim Gul said the blast occurred as two vehicles carrying Pakistani security forces passed through the busy Nishat intersection, which is surrounded by small shops and stalls. But the security forces' vehicles appeared to be undamaged, Gul said.
Television footage of the scene showed a string of cars in the road that were gutted or had blown-out windows.
Several more were wounded in the attack, said Farooq Khan, a senior police official in the valley, which has been relatively peaceful over recent months.
"I've seen three vehicles destroyed by the blast," Reuters photographer Hazrat Ali Bacha said by telephone from the site in the centre of the town of Mingora.
Shops nearby were also damaged, he said.
The Pakistani military launched a major offensive in the mountainous Swat Valley early last year.
Deadly Swat blast targets Pakistan army
A blast apparently aimed at Pakistani security forces ripped through a busy market in the northwestern Swat Valley on Monday.