A suicide squad using guns, grenades and a van packed with explosives targeted police and Pakistan's intelligence agency, killing 30 and wounding 250 in an assault seen as revenge for the month-old army campaign against the Taliban in the Swat Valley.
The midmorning blast on a crowded street Wednesday damaged an area nearly as big as a city block, mangling cars, spraying bricks in all directions and leaving behind a swimming pool-size crater. Most of the dead and injured were civilians.
Interior Minister Rehman Malik said militants were striking out because they were losing the fight with government forces battling to uproot extremists in the northwestern valley and tribal areas near Afghanistan.
"I believe that anti-Pakistan elements, who want to destabilize our country and see defeat in Swat, have now turned to our cities," Malik told reporters.