PESHAWAR, Pakistan (AP) — A car packed with explosives blew up inside a refugee camp in northwestern Pakistan on Thursday as hundreds of people lined up to get food, killing 12 and wounding 20, police said.
The attack occurred at Jalozai camp on the outskirts of the main northwest city of Peshawar, said police officer Mohammad Zahid. The camp hosts Pakistanis who have been displaced by fighting between the army and the Taliban in the country's northwest.
Most of the people hit by the attack were from the Bajur and Khyber tribal areas along the Afghan border, said Zahid. The army has carried out operations against the Pakistani Taliban in both those areas.
Many of the camp's residents get rations from the United Nations' World Food Program. It's unclear whether the attack will disrupt the group's operations there because of safety concerns.
Jalozai, about 30 kilometers (19 miles) southwest of Peshawar, is one of three camps in Pakistan for people displaced by the fighting in the northwest.
It's run by the Pakistani government with assistance from various international aid agencies and is essentially a small city, with about 65,000 refugees living there. It has schools, a hospital and various job training programs designed to help people prepare for their eventual return home. Representatives from the various aid groups constantly travel back and forth to the camp, and foreign delegations often visit.
An attack like Thursday's is extremely rare, although there have been concerns over the years that militants would try to infiltrate Jalozai and other camps like it.
Peshawar is located on the border of the tribal region, the Taliban's main sanctuary in the country, and has been hit with scores of bombings in recent years. The Taliban have been waging a bloody insurgency against the government in an attempt to establish an Islamic state and end Pakistan's cooperation with the United States in fighting militancy.
The militant group withdrew an offer of holding peace talks with the Pakistani government this week, saying officials did not seem serious about sitting down at the negotiation table despite comments to the contrary.