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Grenade attack in Pakistani cinema city kills 10

Source: Reuters - Tue, 11 Feb 2014 12:59 GMT
Author: Reuters
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By Hameedullah Khan

PESHAWAR, Pakistan Feb 11 (Reuters) - Unknown assailants lobbed grenades into a cinema in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar on Tuesday, killing 10 people and wounding 16, hospital officials and police said.

The attack was the second on a cinema in the city in as many weeks. It coincided with peace talks between representatives of the government and Taliban insurgents in the capital, Islamabad.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility, but the Islamist Taliban said it had nothing to do with it. Both sides are meant to refrain from hostilities while the talks proceed.

The death toll was confirmed by Jamil Shah, a spokesman for Lady Reading Hospital in Peshawar, a sprawling, dusty city at the gateway to Pakistan's frontier with Afghanistan.

The cinema's owners said they had received threats and increased security, but that failed to stop the attack.

Pakistani Taliban spokesman Shahidullah Shahid denied involvement. "We condemn the blast, its not our activity," he told Reuters.

Four people died and 31 were wounded in last week's attack.

Pakistani Taliban insurgents have been battling for years to topple the government in Islamabad, banish democracy and establish Islamist rule. Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif wants to negotiate a settlement and stop the fighting.

But many Pakistanis have questioned whether negotiations can stop the violence. Some experts say any Taliban demands will be illegal under the Pakistani constitution.

Others note that Pakistan has many militant groups that are not taking part in talks and frequently target civilians. The Taliban itself has many factions and some experts worry it may continue to carry out attacks under a different name. (Writing by Syed Raza Hassan; Editing by Ron Popeski)

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