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Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Multiple bombs kill one, wound 37 in Pakistan's Karachi
56 minutes ago
KARACHI (AFP) — One person was killed and 37 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 divisions growing.
"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.
Hospital official Liaqat Memon later said a total of 37 people were hurt.
Musharraf condemned the blasts, saying the "despicable acts of terrorism were a conspiracy against the country and the people," the state-run Associated Press of Pakistan reported.
There was no immediate claim of responsibility but police said the blasts appeared to be small and 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.
One of the blasts happened near a school, injuring several of the children. Another completely destroyed a car, leaving half a charred chassis and two wheels.
"It bewildered us all and we saw two of our friends injured. The blast sent concrete flying which damaged some motorcycles," labourer Ali Shah told AFP after another of the blasts in the city's Banaras Chowk area.
Tension gripped several neighbourhoods affected by the bombs, with mobs pelting cars with stones, burning tyres and chanting anti-government slogans, an AFP reporter said.
Karachi has seen a number of attacks blamed on various Islamic militant and political groups since Pakistan joined the US-led "war on terror" in 2001.
Ethnic tensions are also high 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 violence after a brief lull that was brought about by 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 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 Pakistani Taliban.
Last year's operation against the mosque unleashed a wave of revenge suicide attacks that left around 1,000 people dead.
The 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.

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