At least five persons were killed and more than 20 injured in a powerful car bomb blast that targeted a cinema hall in Pakistan's northwestern city of Peshawar on Friday.
The blast destroyed the front of the movie hall located in Kabuli Market, a busy commercial area in the heart of Peshawar. The explosion, which was heard across the city, damaged some adjoining buildings and destroyed several vehicles.
Initial reports on TV news channels said at least five persons were killed by the blast. Officials said they feared the toll could rise as more people were believed to be buried under the debris of the cinema hall.
The condition of some of the injured was described by doctors as serious.
No group claimed responsibility for the blast, though officials said it could have been the handiwork of local Taliban who had warned owners of movie theatres to shut their establishments.
The militants have described cinema halls and shops selling music and movies as "un-Islamic".
Officials said very few people were inside the cinema hall at the time of the blast as most residents of Peshawar had stopped visiting theatres due to the threats from the Taliban.
TV channels beamed footage of flames and thick smoke billowing out of the building.
The blast occurred six days after a bomb attack on an internet cafe in the Kakshal area of Peshawar that killed 11 people, including four children and two women, and injured 32.
Authorities across Pakistan have been bracing for attacks by the Taliban in retaliation for the military operations against the Taliban in the North West Frontier Province.
Over 1,100 militants and some 60 security personnel have died in the operations in Buner, Dir and Swat districts.