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Bombing at Pakistan religious school kills at least 7, including children

A bomb blast at a religious seminary in the Pakistani city of Peshawar on Tuesday killed at least seven people, including children, and wounded dozens, police and hospital officials said.

“Unknown people planted explosives in a plastic bag,” said a police officer in the northwestern city who declined to be identified as he is not authorized to speak to media.

Read more: 16 dead after landslide in northern Pakistan buries bus

The bombing happened while a cleric was delivering a lecture about the teachings of Islam at the main hall of the Jamia Zubairia madrassa, another police officer Waqar Azim said. He said initial investigations suggest the bomb went off minutes after someone left a bag at the madrassa.

Peshawar, near the border with Afghanistan, has long been plagued by Islamist violence.

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Though the number of incidents in the city, and in Pakistan in general, had fallen over recent years, there has been an increase this year in attacks on the security forces in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, of which Peshawar is capital.

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Some of the attacks have been claimed by the Pakistani Taliban.

A spokesman for the city’s Lady Reading Hospital said it had received seven dead and 70 wounded, many with burns.

Tariq Burki, the director of the hospital, said four of the dead were children.

Read more: At least 3 dead after militants attack Pakistan Stock Exchange building

The madrassa is largely for adult students and many were studying when the blast happened, said city resident Abdul Rahim, whose said his 27-year old cousin was among the wounded.

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“He told us they were attending a class when the blast took place,” Rahim said.

The latest attack comes two days after a bombing in the southwestern city of Quetta killed three people.

(Reporting by Jibran Ahmad; Additional reporting by Syed Raza Hassan and Umar Farooq; Writing by Charlotte Greenfield Editing by Clarence Fernandez, Robert Birsel)

—With files from the Associated Press

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