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Pakistan rocked by numerous bomb attacks

Latest update : 2008-07-07

A string of bomb attacks rocked Pakistan's southern city of Karachi, killing one and wounding 30 others a day after a suicide attack claimed 19 lives in the capital Islamabad.


   
One person was killed and 30 others injured on Monday in a string of six bomb blasts in Pakistan's southern city of Karachi, raising tensions a day after a major suicide attack in the capital.
   
The Karachi explosions came in the wake of a suicide bombing that killed 19 people near a rally in Islamabad to mark the first anniversary of the bloody storming of the radical Red Mosque in the capital.
   
Pakistan's new government is facing growing unrest just five months after defeating US-backed President Pervez Musharraf's allies in elections, with Islamist violence on the rise and political fissures opening up.
   
"One person was killed and at least 30 injured in a series of low intensity bomb blasts in the Pashtun-dominated areas in Karachi," police officer Mohammad Saqlain told AFP, adding that seven children were among the wounded.
   
There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the blasts but police said they appeared to be small explosions aimed at raising tensions in the city, rather than major attacks.
   
"Apparently the purpose was to create panic in the city. There is also a possibility that these people who planted the bombs wanted to fan ethnic tensions in the city," provincial police chief Babar Khattak told AFP.
   
"Bomb disposal teams have been sent to the sites of the explosions to determine their nature," Khattak said.
   
One of the blasts completely destroyed a car, leaving half a charred chassis and two wheels.
   
Tension gripped several areas affected by the bombs, with mobs pelting cars with stones, burning tyres and chanting anti-government slogans, an AFP reporter said.
   
Police appeared to pull back from the areas and the sound of gunfire could be heard but it was not clear who was opening fire.
   
Karachi has seen a number of deadly attacks blamed on various Islamic militant and political groups since Pakistan joined the US-led "war on terror" in 2001.
   
The sprawling city of 12 million people also remains riven by ethnic tensions between Pashtuns originally hailing from the northwestern frontier region with Afghanistan and other groups.
   
The deadliest attack in Karachi's history came in October 2007 when 139 people were killed in a double suicide bombing targeting the homecoming parade from exile of former premier Benazir Bhutto.
   
Bhutto was killed by another suicide attack in the garrison city of Rawalpindi in December last year.
   
Pakistan is battling a resurgence in attacks after a brief lull owing to the government's negotiations with Taliban militants in the tribal belt bordering Afghanistan, which it launched after coming to power.
   
In Sunday's blast in Islamabad, a bomber blew himself up in a crowd of policemen deployed to provide security for an Islamist rally commemorating more than 100 people killed in the siege and storming of the Red Mosque.
   
Investigators on Monday discovered the head of the suspected bomber on a nearby rooftop as they made fingertip searches of the scene, security officials said.
   
There was no immediate claim of responsibility but officials said they were examining a range of possible culprits, including the mosque's former students and Taliban militants.
   
Last year's operation against the mosque unleashed a wave of revenge suicide attacks that left around 1,000 people dead.
   
The Pakistani government is under growing pressure from the United States and other Western allies with troops in Afghanistan over its negotiations with militants, while economic problems are causing it trouble at home.
   
Pakistani forces launched an operation nine days ago against Islamic radicals near the northwestern city of Peshawar, but the government has yet to convince its foreign backers it is serious about combating militancy.
  

Date created : 2008-07-07

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